Archive for the ‘Matthew’ Category

The Price is Paid © Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21:12-14 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 5 mistakes…

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY 

And now sixthly,

6. GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR FREE

Jesus was much too generous but obviously did not show much business savvy. Freebie marketing is OK but He devalued His product by giving everything away for free. He had so many opportunities to Market Himself…

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but Jesus fed 5000 people one time with a sea food meal without charging anything! He could have given some appetisers for free or asked people to buy one meal and get one free. He could have even turned water into wine, but for a price. This could have been the start of an incredible Loaves and Fishes restaurant franchise. 
  • On the side He could have provided a Protection scheme for farmers by stilling storms, but for a price.
  • He could have given an occasional freebie to the poor but this needs to be token support rather than targeted and needs to be covered well by the media.
  • Doctors earn a lot of money. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in Matthew 21, what a difference He could have made if He had NOT cleansed the temple. 

Jesus missed His opportunity to set up a table with the moneychangers and for a price, heal all common colds, broken or lame legs, blindness, leprosy, cancer and Covid-19. This would have attracted more business for everyone. Win Win! 

Now if He had done all that, He would have had something to boast about, but He didn’t. He missed it.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I can’t believe you are saying this! Jesus healed those who were blind and lame. It had nothing to do with some kind of business opportunity. This is God’s compassion given freely. 

This was a place of worship. Where people gather together for worship there will be spiritual healing of hearts and He provided healing of bodies, miraculously and freely. People come to worship and pray because they realise they need spiritual healing, not to make money.

Jesus was not only concerned about cleansing the Temple of corrupt money changers but about cleansing hearts, including your heart and mine, and there is NO COST INVOLVED. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul says to Christ followers in Ephesians 2:8-9 “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is A GIFT FROM GOD. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

We are not able to pay such a cost as He paid when He died on the Cross for our sins. The price has already been paid for us.

He even gave the Religious leaders a chance to repent and find peace and forgiveness with God. Instead they were indignant. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! That leads me to the 6th Marketing mistake, but unfortunately this is your stop so I look forward to sharing the Marketing mistakes Jesus made in WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 6)

Pastor Ross

Brood of Vipers © Image Created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21: – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 3 mistakes

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

And now fourthly,

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

MARKETING MANAGER: Jesus actually discouraged those who could have helped Him financially. Think about it. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT). This young man could have supported Him, but instead, Jesus turned Him away by asking him to do something ridiculous. You don’t do this. This shows a distinct lack of financial acumen and Marketing prowess.

But then look at Matthew 21:12 (NLT)! It says “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.” 

Another lost opportunity. If only He had gained favour with the small business people, He could have had financial backing for any enterprise He wanted. 

At the very peak of popularity with the people who were proclaiming Him to be the Messiah, He destroys His credibility by causing a public disturbance in the very place He needed the backing. 

All hope of financial assistance was destroyed in one foul stroke. He could have set up a Patreon funding system but once again missed His opportunity.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus was not interested in their money! He walks into the outer court of the temple, a place for people of all nations to meet with God in worship, praise, and prayer. Instead He finds a commercial business centre filled with people taking advantage of one another for profit. 

The Temple was not meant to be a place of business but worship! So Jesus drove them all out, overturning their tables.  “He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”” (Matthew 21:12,13 NLT).

They were abusing the purpose of God’s Temple. They were exploiting others by their business deals and they made it impossible for people to use this place to worship God. According to historians, Annas, the former high priest, was the CEO of this lucrative business enterprise, assisted by his sons.

They really were what He called them, “A den of thieves”

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 5th major error Jesus made in Marketing. 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY. 

Calling this group of businessmen a “Den of thieves” certainly didn’t endear Himself to them in anyway. Jesus really took it too far sometimes and got Himself a bad reputation. 

On one occasion He saw some Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch Him baptize people and He denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” He exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath?” (Matthew 3:7, 12:34).

It’s not a good impression to make, calling leaders of His community a brood of snakes and telling them they will go to hell, even if you know this to be true. Israel Filau made the same mistake and was crucified for his remarks as well. 

On another occasion Jesus embarrassed more community leaders saying, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity” (Matthew 23:27 NLT). This didn’t help to market His brand. It isolated Him from the very people that could have helped His cause.

Every single sentence you speak and every action communicates a message to the world. If you are going to protect your brand, you need to protect your reputation. You can’t go around saying and doing what you think is right all the time. You’ll have the city in uproar (Matthew 21:10). Just as a good organization protects its brand, protect your reputation by being intentional and circumspect about the words you speak and the actions you perform. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus is not afraid to tell the truth about corrupt business people and spiritually impoverished religious leaders of Jerusalem.  

You can see His heart in what happened next. After He restored the outer temple to be a place of prayer and worship, He was able to make it a place of ministry.  Matthew 21:14 (NLT) says “The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them.” 

MARKETING MANAGER: Another mistake. His 6th major error in Marketing. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: We will have to continue this conversation again tomorrow. This is my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I am so pleased you would like to continue learning about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5). 

Pastor Ross

Hope like an Anchor © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21:9 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

On the train the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously…

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 2 mistakes

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

And now thirdly

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

In Luke 19:41-44 (NLT) it says that  “… as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”

Luke 19 just proves my point. You don’t send out a tweet like that if you want to market yourself. You don’t tell people that it’s too late for them. Jesus obviously didn’t believe in Jerusalem. How could Jerusalem believe in Him? He thought there was no hope for them.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Jesus was their only hope and they missed it! So have you. Magnificent Jerusalem! Beautiful to behold as a city of spires was spiritually falling apart as if moved by an unseen earthquake of souls. 

When even God weeps over a city… what hope is left but Christ Himself? What dissonance existed between such an outward wonder of the world that was Jerusalem and the corrupted, crumbling hearts of people. 

Within 50 years this outward magnificence would be razed to the ground and reflect more accurately the bereft state of its people. And by then the spiritual hope of a nation depended not on city spires or a temple or even a Roman emperor but upon a simple faith in what Christ, the King of kings had accomplished on the Cross. The true rebuilding of a city could only take place spiritually and by personal choice to find their hope in Christ.

MARKETING MANAGER: There. Now we are getting somewhere! People need to know that angle about Jesus being their hope. That’s a nice catch-phrase by the way, “Jesus, the hope of humanity”. But to get it across involves marketing yourself! And that’s what He failed to do. You need a niche market, which He had with His miracles and an audience to gain popularity, even celebrity status.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after 3 days in a tomb. You don’t do that without gaining celebrity status and people came out of the woodwork to see Him and Lazarus, (John 12:9). Due to the Sabbath (Saturday) they gathered either that evening or the next morning. 

Not only that but there were already about 2.5 million people in Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover (Josephus). That’s when Jesus acquires a donkey on which He rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Matthew 21:9 (NLT) says, “Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!” 

Many people recognised Jesus as the promised Messiah and King. That’s why they stripped off their cloaks and spread palm branches out on the roadway before Him. This was how you honoured a king. . 

Crowds of people shouted out “Hosanna” which means save now, or save, we pray. They shouted that He was “the Son of David” which was the title for the Messiah. But they, like you, missed the point of what Jesus came to do.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! They missed the point. You see? He had it all and because He failed to Market Himself well, within a week, He lost it all. In fact by the end of this week, because of His failure in Marketing Himself, He lost His life. Such a tumultuous mix of praise at the beginning of that week gave way to abuse from the crowd at it’s end. The praises of Hosanah! (Save now!) would soon give way to Crucify Him! … I could have saved Him. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Shakes head with a look of frustration and pity) You could not have saved Him. Don’t you understand, He came to save you, spiritually, when you place your trust in Him. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 4th Mistake… 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry. This is my stop. We will have to resume this conversation at a later time.

MARKETING MANAGER: I will look forward to sharing more about what Jesus teaches us in  WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4). 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 21:7-11 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 2)

Last time…

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first mistake

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

Having a platform is important so when the opportunity comes, take advantage of the moment. In Matthew 21:7-11, in the middle of a huge crowd who were in Jerusalem, where He could have gained many followers, Jesus rides in on a humble donkey and misses His opportunity to Market Himself again. 

Yes, some of the crowd respond to Him, mostly children it seems, but He could have made a huge entrance and touched the lives of everyone in Jerusalem that day, if He had only chosen a huge white horse and perhaps even a chariot instead of a donkey. The horse and the chariot were suggestive of power and influence, but the donkey is a pathetic way to ride into town. This is not a triumphal entry. It is a triumphal failure to market yourself well. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Let’s get the story straight. It wasn’t a pathetic way to enter Jerusalem, but a humble way to ride into town. The donkey was regarded as a symbol of peace. Jesus is called the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to bring Peace with God and peace with our neighbours. 

Romans 5:1 (NLT) says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

If Jesus rode in on a white war horse it would be a deliberate and antagonistic sign of rebellion against Caesar and the Romans would have arrested Him immediately. 

500 years before this event, Zechariah the prophet declared that God would one day send His King. Zechariah 9:9 (NLT) says, “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.” The Jews regarded the passage as Messianic (Edersheim). 

Perhaps the most honoured that day was the donkey. The unbroken donkey. Somehow the touch of the Masters hand enables that which is unbroken to be at peace. Jesus has the ability to bring peace to the wildness of an unridden donkey and to give purpose and direction to untamed hearts.

The greatest triumph of aggressive warfare is insignificant compared to the grace and peace that rode in on a donkey that day. He had all the authority of the King of kings but had the heart of the Prince of Peace. He had a servant heart. He was a true king – a Shepherd of the people. 

MARKETING MANAGER: That may be true but let me tell you about His third mistake…. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This conversation will have to resume later. I have to go.

MARKETING MANAGER: I look forward to part 3 of our conversation about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

Pastor Ross

Marketing Graph © Image by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 1)

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT).

He mixed with the “wrong” people – beggars, and sick people and even prostitutes. Yes, you need to help these people, but you don’t get a good reputation for your business by making them your target group.  

And Jesus was effectively homeless. One time when someone wanted to be His follower, He said “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20 (NLT2). 

He could have started a big medical business but didn’t. Yes, He spoke to and catered for some big crowds but had rather radical ideas. He got leaders in the community off-side with Him. He spoke in obscure riddles and often refused to explain Himself.

Yes, His name is a household word today, Christian or not, but He could be so much more popular today if He had been wiser with His marketing strategy. Jesus made some big mistakes in Marketing. 

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly my point! Jesus has much to teach us about what not to do if you want to Market yourself. He would be crucified in the business world today.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: That’s not funny! Jesus was crucified literally. He died for our sins and…

MARKETING MANAGER: Yes, yes. And if He had taken more interest in Marketing Himself He could have avoided all that, and would still be popular today. Let’s face it, He made some big mistakes.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: Mistakes? What mistakes? Jesus doesn’t make mistakes!

MARKETING MANAGER: Well, let’s start with a key mistake. Here’s what NOT TO DO in Marketing yourself.

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Jesus did miracles. That’s got to be His key niche marketing tool to identify Him as exercising the power of God, as the Messiah. But Jesus constantly messed up His opportunities. 

He often did miracles simply because He had compassion on people and asked them not to tell people about what happened. When a little girl was healed (literally raised from the dead) in Luke 8:56 (NLT) “her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened”.

You want to mess up big time in marketing? – Don’t let people know your talents and passions. Don’t let people know about your interests and the creative and unique things you do. 

Jesus instructed several people whom He had healed to “tell no-one what was done to you”. He missed the opportunity for His niche market. He refused to grow His reputation. Marketing the Messiah was obviously something He knew nothing about. 

If only I had been one of His disciples, I could have saved Him.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: You really don’t get it, do you? You couldn’t save Him. He came to save you. Miracles were not Jesus’ key niche marketing tool. Unfortunately, sometimes His miracles interfered with proclaiming the good news that you can be forgiven of your sins and born again spiritually.  Once, when He healed a man with leprosy, Jesus told Him not to tell others. In Mark 1:40-45 (NLT2) it says “But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and He couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to Him.” Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue this conversation later. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Good. I am so pleased you want to continue our conversation. I will look forward to Part 2 of WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF

Pastor Ross

Was Blind1

Was blind, … © Created Images by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.79b Cycles

Matthew 20:29-34 -  INTERVIEW  – ONCE BLIND 

As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind.Two blind men were sitting beside the road.  

I interviewed Daniel in a Church service recently. He is completely blind. Daniel said “I was not always blind so I know what I have lost. Being so much older now, I have lost a lot of my mobility and my blindness adds to my lack of independence. Simple things can be difficult for me. For example, I still cannot use my phone and at times I can’t even find the cradle in which to replace it.”

Together Daniel and I related his story to this passage of the Bible in Matthew 20. I didn’t record the interview but you’ll find many of his thoughts in the story below …

If I went back in time with a Camera crew and met and interviewed the 2 blind beggars on the side of the road before Jesus came along, the interview might go something like this… 

Was Blind2

Was Blind, … © Created Images by Ross Cochrane

I am here just outside Jericho, on a very busy road, and in a short time, we will try to get an interview with Jesus as He passes this way. In the meantime, we are speaking to Azriel and Efraim (not their real names), both believers and both completely blind. 

I am interested in what life is like for you and what is your take on the events of this day. Azriel, may I start with you. You went blind in your 20’s as a result of cataracts. May I ask you first what problems you face in everyday life and how your blindness restricts you?

Azriel: Yes, Of course. As you can imagine, I have lost a lot of my independence. I can’t work so I have experienced a dramatic loss of income. This means I have been reduced to begging and relying on others for my livelihood. The money I make from begging is often inadequate. That’s partly why I am here.

How did you find your way here today?

Azriel: It was a challenge, but I know this road and I just had to follow the noises of the people and ask for directions. This is the major road out of Jericho.

Mostly, my life is monotonous, sitting near the city gate begging, but at this time of year, everyone is going to the Passover in Jerusalem. Jericho is a major roadway to Jerusalem and everyone has a story to tell or news to share. That’s how we discovered news about Jesus passing this way.

I can beg by the roadside and listen to the conversations. I make a lot of money with so many people going by and learn a lot about what is happening in the world.

Ephraim: I don’t like going outside but I have to if I am going to survive. Azriel and I travel together. It’s a little like the Blind leading the Blind and the trouble is, it’s not always safe, with ditches, wagons, animals and Roman soldiers. People expect us to get out of the way. We know the best places to beg but often they are also the most dangerous.

It must be difficult to get through the crowded areas

Ephraim: Being on the road to Jericho at this time of year is always exhausting. Too many people roaming about, bumping into us or tripping over us. But we have to contend with the crowds to survive. We have no judgment to react quickly to any dangers so we are accident prone.

Some people give bad directions to us and others just don’t have time for us. We can’t venture out too far or we will get separated and lose our way without help. Sometimes people say “follow me” but unless they are watching us we will get lost in a crowd like this.

How do you cope emotionally with your blindness?

Efraim: I guess we cope because we don’t only rely on our hearing; on touch and smell and on taste to navigate our way through life (although my hearing is particularly good).

Before I had faith in Jesus, I found myself continually grappling with loneliness. My family seemed to be embarrassed by me and I lacked any sense of dignity. I felt as if I was not important to anyone. I felt isolated and I must admit, I still get depressed at times, but I am absolutely sure that I can rely on God and on His mercy.

I get frightened easily when I am alone outside. Rather than thinking the best in people, I can become suspicious of them. Sometimes I am not sure if I am being helped or being mugged. Azriel is fairly positive, so his friendship helps me, but I don’t make a lot of friends.

Since I believed in Christ, I have realised that I can’t trust completely in my own abilities or judgments and I can’t rely on others all the time. We can’t always just go with the crowd.

Azriel, What gives you hope?

Azriel: Our belief. As Ephraim said, we believe in Christ. We heard Him speak once and since then we have both come to believe that He is the promised Messiah, the Son of David. We will cry out for His mercy if ever we hear Him again. His mercy will give us a reason to live.

Was Blind111png

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Azriel: If Jesus is going to the Passover in Jerusalem, then we don’t want to be so blind as to not recognise Him.  He will probably come along this road and we are keeping our ears open. Without Jesus, we are even more blind and helpless and with nowhere to go. But God is always near to us since we believed. I pray that He will give us the eyes of faith to see Him, and the humility to shout out for His touch and His mercy. We want to understand more of who He is and what that means for our lives.

Maybe your desire will come more quickly than you realised. I have just received news that Jesus is coming this way. 

As you can hear, the moment I said Jesus was coming, these two blind men are shouting out “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The crowd doesn’t seem to like them calling out

“Be quiet!” 

People from the crowd are yelling at them. Let’s talk to one of them. Excuse me, can I ask you why you don’t want these blind men to get Jesus’ attention? 

Crowd member:  They are calling Jesus the Son of David. That’s a term used for the Messiah, the coming King who will one day free us from the tyranny of our enemies. Jesus may be a respected teacher but He is not the Messiah. Talk like that is almost blasphemous.

Another Crowd Member: Besides, they are beggars. As if Jesus will want to speak with beggars. It’s embarrassing.

Despite the crowds yelling at them to be quiet, Azriel and Ephraim are shouting even louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Azriel and Ephraim, you seem intent on getting this crowd a little angry. Why do you continue shouting? They want you to remain silent and go back to asking for alms. 

Azriel: This is our only opportunity to see Jesus so we cannot give in to their demands. We intend to shout even louder for His intervention of mercy, even if it is undeserved and even if they are embarrassed and have no sympathy or compassion for our desperation. We are going to “Seek the LORD while He may be found” We are going to “call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6 NLT).

Well, it seems these two blind men cannot be dissuaded. They are shouting even louder. And Jesus is approaching. Let’s see what He does. 

Jesus hears them, and surprisingly, He is stopping to talk to them. 

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

Jesus has stopped and has asked them to articulate their needs. He seems to have accepted the title they have given Him, “Son of David”. Perhaps they are not so blind after all. It will be interesting to see if He will give them any money. They need a handout and they have already asked Him for mercy.

“Lord, we want to see!”

Well, you can see that Azriel and Ephraim are desperate, even to the point of believing that Jesus can perform a miracle and enable them to see. Jesus stands with them and the crowd have gathered around Him. They cried out for mercy desperately, but when Jesus stopped, they didn’t ask Jesus for money but for their sight. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for them, these poor beggars. Everyone has gone silent, wondering what Jesus is going to say or do. Perhaps he’ll encourage the crowd to give. How sad.

Of course, there are many desperate people on this crowded road who need the mercy of God. Not all of them are as demonstrative as these 2 beggars. Perhaps this is a reminder that none of us should be so blind as not to see the needs of those around us. Over to you…

… Wait, something is happening. 

Jesus is reaching down and touching their eyes. (Quickly, get a close-up of this.) Something is happening to their eyes. The moment Jesus touched their eyes something incredible happened! Their eyes are no longer clouded and white with cataract damage. They are clear and bright. (Did you get that?) 

The crowd have breathed a collective breath of amazement. People are gathering around. The crowd is getting a little thick around here. We can’t see what is going on. (Reporter talks to a man on a wagon) Excuse me, can you see what is happening? 

Man on wagon: Yes, Jesus was moved with compassion for two beggars and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! They are following Him. All praise to God! (Matthew 20:34).

There you have it. We did witness something remarkable. There are too many people around for us to get through to interview Jesus and these blind beggars who apparently have been completely healed, but we will keep trying. 

Please, let us through. We are reporters. We desperately need to speak to Jesus. Please, show a bit of mercy. We can’t miss this opportunity. Not now, after what we just witnessed… 

Forget the camera, guys. We need eyes to see Him too…  

Reporter begins shouting: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

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This story needs still the words of someone like Adam Clarke, born in 1763, who wrote a commentary on this passage from the Bible and gave what proves to be a timeless invitation. He says,

Reader, whosoever thou art, act in behalf of thy soul as these blind men did in behalf of their sight, and thy salvation is sure. Apply to the Son of David; lose not a moment; He is passing by, and thou art passing into eternity, and probably wilt never have a more favorable opportunity than the present. The Lord increase thy earnestness and faith!

Pastor Ross

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http://www.thewellatspringfield.org/a-blind-beggar-who-sees/

 

Jacket - World-Hanger 2

Damaged © by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.79 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 20:28 – EXCHANGED

 I didn’t notice it until now, but it is not what the salesperson told me it was, and it is not the size or color I asked forWhat was I thinking? This jacket I am wearing is far too small and far too dark and the lining is torn, and I want it exchanged. 

How fortunate. The same salesperson who sold it to me is still here. I show him the docket and ask him for a replacement, but I am told I am not entitled to one. 

“I beg your pardon,” I say, It is damaged, I don’t want it, it doesn’t fit me and is far too restrictive. I have no use for a small, ill-fitting, damaged jacket!” but he does not listen, even when I begin to raise my voice.

“Please don’t shout at me,” he says, making me feel bad“The sign says, (he points at the sign) NO REPLACEMENTS OR REFUNDS.”

I’m sorry,” I say, “but your sign means nothing, and you know that, by law, you must replace damaged goods. This is a major problem and I have a right to a replacement. I would not have bought this jacket if I had known it was damaged.” I can’t believe I bought it anyway. I don’t even like it. 

He smiles and asks to take a look at the jacket. I show him the torn lining and he says“It looks perfectly OK to me, and you have waited far too long.

shake my head and look him in the eye. “This jacket is obviously seriously damaged. I demand a replacement! He smiles again, sighs and relents. “Very well, take a look at the jackets and find one which is of the same value.”

I look at the other jackets only to find that all of them have increased dramatically in price, all of them are badly made, and all of them are far too small. I am starting to get annoyed and ask instead for a refund and when he says “No,” I threaten to go to Consumer Affairs. 

“Look,” says the shop owner“Since you have a docket, here’s what I will do. I will give you a repair notice and you can find anyone you choose to repair the jacket and I will pay the full price for the repair.” 

am suspicious, but I need a jacket and I leave the store feeling angry that I accepted having to wear something too small, but I find a store in the shopping center who does repairs and give them the repair notice and ask about my jacket. 

“Another one”, the shop owner says, “I’m sorry but we cannot repair your jacket. It is not worth the time or effort. It’s so badly made, it would only tear again. You have been duped and this repair notice is worthless. I am not willing to take the chance and bear the cost.” 

“I will find someone else who will repair it“. 

“You won’t find anybody else who is willing,” she says. 

I will contact Consumer Affairs,” I say. “And what did you mean when you said, ‘Another one’?

“Look around you”, she says, “Everyone has a jacket like yours.” 

I am just about to ask what on earth she is talking about when I look around at the other shoppers, only to find, to my horror, that everyone is wearing a jacket like mine. Is this a dream? It is hardly the fashion to wear damaged, ill-fitting garments. I am astounded. What is going on?   

Just then I see a man walking towards me who is NOT wearing an ill-fitting damaged jacket. His jacket fits him perfectly. It is tailored without flaws and made of the finest of fabrics and He really stands out in a crowd. I am extremely pleased for Him (well, perhaps a little jealous)

He notices me looking at Him and says, “Do you realize your jacket is damaged?” I am annoyed and a little embarrassed by this question (is it that noticeable?) but smile and say, “Yes, I am trying to find someone to repair it?” 

He says, “Your jacket is not designed to fit who you are.”

“Well, it seems to be the fashion, I say, looking around, “and it cost me a great deal.”

“The wages of sin is death,” He says. It looks like your jacket can be replaced, but not repaired. The shop assistant gives me a look as if to say, “I told you so.” 

He continues, “Here, let me take a look at your jacket. I’m a tailor. No harm in letting him look.

I can’t seem to get it off and feel foolish until He helps me. Then He takes off His own jacket and says, “Try mine.” I must admit, I would like to try on this beautifully made jacket, so I don’t refuse His invitation

Strange. He puts on my jacket as I try on His. 

“It fits you well.” He says. My jacket on Him looks grotesque. I can see all its flaws.   

“Yes, I can feel how comfortable it is.

It suits you,” He says. In fact, it was made for you. It is yours, a gift. You are a new person.

“I can’t afford such a jacket,” I protest, but when I look up He is walking away wearing my jacket and I try to say something but there are people with old jackets all over the place and I am distracted as I look at my new self in a shop windowA gift, He said…

Of course, you realize now that this is a parable.

Jesus exchanged my sin for His righteousness. He did not repair me. I do not have patches on my sinfulness. He doesn’t just stitch up my tatters. God sees me as forgiven because of what Jesus did for me on the Cross. Romans 5:1 (NLT) says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

Romans 13:12 (NLT) says, … clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. …” Galatians 3:26 (NLT) says I have “… put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 

Matthew 20: 28 says For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom (substitute) for many.”

I have exchanged death for life because the price was paid. The dark, ill-fitting, damaged-goods jacket of my sin was exchanged for the perfectly fitting jacket of His righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (NLT) says,  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering (substitute) for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Galatians 6:15 says we can be distracted by things that don’t really matter in life. It says, What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB) says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

The invitation to EXCHANGE is still available.

Pastor Ross

 

Love,Judgment and Grace12

Love, Justice and Grace © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender Cycles

Matthew 20:28 – PRISONER EXCHANGE

Five Taliban leaders are released in return for the release of Bowe Bergdahl after he was taken hostage in Afghanistan. The Taliban negotiated a ransom price in the form of a prisoners exchange for Bergdahl. It is not uncommon in theatres of war to negotiate to secure the release of prisoners. Nevertheless, Bergdahl was subsequently judged by court-martial and sentenced for the crime of desertion from his unit before being captured.

A bridge in the shape of a Cross. God’s love on one side. God’s Justice on the other. The hostages of Satan are kept in the Slave Market of Sin. God’s Justice and God’s law demands the death penalty.

God’s love releases His sinless Son as a ransom. Jesus walks across the bridge to pay the price demanded by God’s Justice. He is subsequently judged by evil men and sentenced to die on a Cross. In exchange, all prisoners have the freedom to walk across the bridge to receive His life. Not all do.

Romans 5:10 (NLT) says, “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son.”

Click on picture for animation

Love, Justice and Grace. Images and Animation © by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.79

The Justice of God is satisfied by the death of the sinless Son of Man. The Love of God is expressed by granting life to the hostages of Satan incarcerated in the Slave Market of Sin. Satan, Sin, and death are defeated as Jesus rises from the dead. Those who have walked towards God’s love are no longer condemned. Those who choose to remain behind are already condemned.

John 3:17-18 (NLT) says “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” 

Matthew 20: 28 says For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

The invitation of the Exchange remains open.

Pastor Ross

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The Wall © Animation (Instagram) and images by Ross Cochrane

Press image above to view animation on Instagram

ONE SIDE 

We all co-signed the legal document. We all had a part in our politiciansbusiness managers, educators, scientists and religious leaders to endorse an executive order to build the wall.  

Yes, Governor Adam and his wife Eve sealed the act, so there is a precedent for wall buildingBut we were all there when, as an act of arrogant declaration of ushering in untold wealth and prosperity, they took a bite of the forbidden fruit. It was momentous and although they were deported for their actions, they changed the world and we successfully built the wall to keep God out.   

Jesus, the Substitute Terrorist 

Some say that Jesus has built a bridge and walks among us even now infiltrating our defenses and forming sleeper cells. Jesus the terrorist; a dangerous and unwanted criminal who will corrupt the minds of our children, radicalizing them to be subservient to His LeadershipWe built the wall to prohibit Him and His followers from having an influence on us. 

We must be vigilant. Most cells are inconspicuous enough and many remain dormant. But they can be activated unaccountably by religious zeal as they pray or listen to their preachers, and all of a sudden, they are making an impact on our way of life, threatening to sabotage our educational and social norms by proselytizing any who will listen, and destroying our cultural icons.  

There is nothing new here. The wall of China, castle walls, the walls of Jericho, the walls of Jerusalem, the Berlin wall, the Iron Curtain. They are all designed to keep us insulated and keep the enemy at bay. We like to hold onto our territory, secure our boundaries. We build fences around our houses. The curtain in the temple in Jerusalem was not enough to separate people from God.  . We need the wall! 

This isn’t about drugs and guns, because these we have already legalized. This is about blocking an invading enemyYes, it is a wall against the immigration of faith-based advocates of the teachings of the Bible and against the unwanted radicalization of our children by those who follow Christ, simply that.  

It’s all to do with what we want for our community. We don’t want Jesus or His kind of influence among us, telling us to repent with His message of servanthood. 

THE OTHER SIDE 

Two different worlds divided by a vicious, impenetrable barrierIt snakes its deadly pathway through humanity. The development of these malevolent blocks of sinful enterprise has placed a death penalty upon all born behind this Wall of ShameBehind this wall, we die to any sense of what is right and reveal only the arrogance of the human heart. It is an unhealed wound which magnifies the waywardness of the human soul. It is built from the gravestones of a lost world, a slave market of the human spirit.  

I was born inside the walled slave market. We all were. All the political and educational leaders, all the respectable people, all the non-respectable people, all the moral, immoral, amoral, religious, irreligious, non-religious, the educated and uneducated, the rich and the poor, every race and every gender preference.  

Although this wall brings to mind the schemes of Donald Trump, it is far more comprehensive; with global implications Its bars and barriers are constructed of human sin (Romans 3:23) which have separated humanity from God. Its foundation is laid with white-washed tombs because the penalty of our sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). It is constructed of our false trust in human righteousness ignoring that all of us have gone our own way (Isaiah 53).  

But the wall humanity has built to keep Jesus, the refugee, out, far from enslaving God, has enslaved ourselves 

Jesus, the Substitute Refugee 

Romans 5:8 (NLT) says, But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” 

Jesus, born of a virginthe only free person who ever lived, came into the world outside the walled slave market of our sin. He built a bridge and walks among us and invites us to follow Him. God became a man and offers us eternal life. 

To purchase my freedom I needed someone outside the wall to pay the ransom price, but the ransom price was deathoffered to God to satisfy His justice and wrath against my sin.  

I am eternally grateful that Jesus paid the price and died on the Cross to purchase my freedom from the penalty of my sin. He paid the full ransom price with His own death so that I could live in freedom. was the refugee without a home and Jesus welcomed me into His Kingdom. Matthew 20: 28 (NLT) says Jesus came  to give His life as a ransom for many.” He became a substitute for me. 

Romans 5:10 (NLT) says, “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son.” 

The Cross became a battering ram to open the way to God. There is a God-sized gap in the wall of every human heart. He invites those who will exercise faith to walk through itand to implore our world to   

Tear down this wall!” 

Pastor Ross 

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The greatest expression of Christ's amazing love is intrinsically woven into the Cross. The ransom He paid for us is like a beautiful, precious blood red ruby sweeping its reflections across our lives and dancing its light into our hearts. I have been ransomed with such a treasure as this. My sins separated me. The cost was the death of Jesus Christ to free me and return me to a relationship with God. (Images and animation done with Blender Cycles and Yafaray by Ross Cochrane) #blender #blender3d #blendercycles #blenderrender #blender3dart #blenderartist #blenderart #blenderguru #imageblender #blenderanimation #blenderanimations #blenderanimationproject #blenderanimate #blenderanimationnodes #blenderanimator

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Cross=Love. Press for instagram Animation © Image and Animation above by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 20:28 – RANSOM

The greatest expression of Christ’s amazing love is intrinsically woven into the Cross of Christ. The ransom He paid for us is like a beautiful, precious blood-red ruby sweeping its reflections across our lives and dancing its light into our hearts.

I have been ransomed with such a treasure as this. My sins separated me. The cost was the death of Jesus Christ to free me and return me to a relationship with God.

Pastor Ross