and Jacob to Peter, Paul, the Magdalene and Jesus;
From the Old Covenant to the New Covenant;
From Jerusalem to Megiddo.
At Faith For Tomorrow we explore the entire
Judeo Christian landscape.
He is Risen!
THE SERMON ON THE PLAIN
This written description is a dramatization IN WORDS of the great Sermon on the Plain (KJV, Luke 6). Did events unfold exactly this way? Probably not. Is this written description in the spirit of what happened that day beside the Sea of Galilee? Faith For Tomorrow believes it is, and in any case, we certainly HOPE it is.
Foreword … The great Sermon on the Plain may be one of the most influential sermons ever preached in the history of the world. The words the Lord spoke there on that plain, two thousand years ago, were words that no one had ever heard before. They were concepts of humanity that no one had ever given voice to before. They seem old-hat to us now because they have gripped the spirits of men and women all over the world for two thousand years. In countries where the gospel of Jesus Christ is barely ever heard, these concepts first spoken out loud by Jesus of Nazareth have influenced human interactions in ways we will never fully understand, even in countries where the Messiah’s glorious name has not yet fully penetrated.
There came a Sabbath Day when Jesus and several of his disciples were walking through a cornfield recently harvested, while unbeknownst to them, they were being followed by some Pharisees (religious authorities) who hoped to see something unlawful with which they might accuse Jesus. The Galilean Sanhedrin—the local religious tribunal for the Galilee Region, consisting of twenty-three men, with religious, civil, and criminal jurisdiction—was extremely suspicious of the Nazarene, who people talked about as a miracle worker. So, when some of the Lord’s disciples plucked ears of corn from stalks that the harvesters had missed and proceeded to eat the kernels, one of the Pharisees who had been trailing the group shouted out, “Look to your followers, Nazarene! Why do you allow them to harvest corn on the Sabbath Day?” To pious Jews, it was unlawful to perform work on the Sabbath, and these religious bureaucrats were saying that plucking ears of corn from the stalk on the Sabbath was a violation of religious Law.
But Jesus answered the religious bureaucrats right back, saying, “Have you not read in the scriptures … What King David did when Saul was pursuing him, and David’s loyal men were starving? Do you not recall the scriptures? There were many men with King David, and he went into the House of GOD … took the shewbread from the alter and gave it to his men to eat. So, answer me this … Is it possible that King David … GOD’s anointed … broke the Law? We all know that eating the shewbread from the alter was unlawful. Because under the Law, it was only lawful for the priests to eat that bread.”
Jesus knew no one there would accuse David the KING of breaking the Law, an inner knowledge that brought a knowing smile to his lips.
After the Nazarene asked the question, there was a long pause, during which the religious bureaucrats remained stonily silent, causing Jesus to nod knowingly. And that was the end of that. Or was it? Before turning away, Jesus (fixing his gaze upon the Pharisees) said solemnly, “The Son of Man is Lord ALSO of the Sabbath.”
And as that last word ... Sabbath ... Passed the Nazarene’s lips, one of the religious bureaucrats tore his robe and screamed out, “Blasphemy! Blasphemy!”
Did the Nazarene just say that he was the Messiah?
Then, along with his cohorts, the distraught Pharisee scurried away to report to the leaders of the local Sanhedrin what the Nazarene had said and done.
Now, it came to pass; even before that Sabbath Day, the local religious authorities had been highly irritated with the Nazarene. Members of the Capernaum Sanhedrin had first become aware of the Nazarene because he preached repentance for sin and turning back to GOD—just like that fanatic John the Baptist—but later, there were rumors about miracles and healing associated with his ministry that men and women were speaking about, out loud, everywhere. Which incensed the religious authorities … They were the sentinels over people’s souls around Galilee, not some bumpkin from the wilderness.
Supposedly, the Nazarene had cured a leper by his word and caused a man paralyzed from birth to be made whole.
That would have been enough to provoke the religious authorities—a stranger coming to Capernaum, healing diseases, and preaching redemption without their approval—but that was not all; there was a rumor the Nazarene was a common laborer, a mere carpenter. The local authorities did not appreciate some outsider (from among the laboring classes) coming into their area and stirring up religious fervor among the inhabitants thereof, besides as the saying went … nothing good ever comes from Nazareth.
After the cornfield incident, the Lord became concerned because there was so much yet to be done. Jesus recognized how powerful the religious leaders were; and, for a time, considered whether he should leave a smaller footprint upon the land. Yet, even though concerned, the Lord’s heart was so perfect, his love so strong … he couldn’t bring himself to stop the healing and miracles even though realizing they were bringing him too much attention, too soon. He could not; because, after all… Jesus WAS a miracle sent from GOD.
The following Sabbath, the Nazarene, with several of his disciples, went into the Synagogue at Capernaum, where he intended to worship and preach. And, as was common, there were a number of Pharisees (members of the local Sanhedrin) and some Scribes in attendance.
The office of Pharisee was elite and hereditary (they were the religious authorities) whose name means “The Separate Ones” while Scribes—government bureaucrats—were members of a select profession who obtained their office because of their status in the community; and also because of their skill, (Scribes had to be able to write). To hold their office, both Scribes and Pharisees had to get approval from Judea’s Roman Overlords. Originally, GOD created the Law through His ten commandments, which He wrote in stone with His finger and gave to Moses the Lawgiver; the eighth commandment is… Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. The attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees was … They were keepers of the Law.
Now it came to pass, in the Synagogue that Sabbath Day, there was a man whose right hand was withered from birth, which caused the religious authorities spasms of delight; all of them sensing that the Nazarene (brimming with righteousness) would have no choice other than to heal the infirm man’s hand, thereby giving them an excuse to accuse him of violating the Sabbath.
Inwardly, the Scribes and Pharisees were ecstatic; one of them, unable to control his glee, was smirking, his pious eyes fixed on the Rabbi from Nazareth, anticipating that soon enough, there would be an actual crime of which the Nazarene might be accused. There were many there that day, among the Pharisees and Scribes, who wondered whether the Nazarene would dare heal the man on the Sabbath Day. If he did heal the man, they would have something they could use to accuse him; and, many of the maliciously corrupt religionists were already plotting how they might kill him.
As the worship service went on with selections from the sacred scrolls being read aloud to the congregation, soon enough, one of the chief priests of the Synagogue looked at Jesus and said, “Nazarene, we all here have heard of your ministry … Would you please read to us from Isaiah?”
Jesus nodded and stood to read, but before opening his mouth, he spotted the man with the withered hand and felt compassion in his heart. All about them, the men and women of the congregation looked on with breathless anticipation as if sensing the man with the crippled hand and the Nazarene were about to come together. The atmosphere was pregnant; most everyone there hoping to witness a miracle; not so, however, with the Scribes and Pharisees, their hearts began beating faster; they were like wolves catching the scent of a lamb.
Jesus knew the thoughts of the Scribes and Pharisees … but, the Lord’s instinct for mercy and healing was more powerful than the envy and malice of the religious bureaucrats, so he said to the man with the withered hand, “Rise and stand here before GOD’s people.”
The man had heard about the Rabbi from Nazareth and the miracles associated with him; and, he believed the Nazarene had been sent from GOD and hoped for healing. So, taking a step of Faith, the man rose, moved to the center, and stood before the assembly. At which point Jesus looked the leaders of the local Sanhedrin, straight in the eyes, and said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath Day to do good, or is it lawful to do evil? Is it lawful to save … or is it lawful to destroy?”
Chagrined, the Scribes and Pharisees did not answer him a word; they merely looked away from the Nazarene, avoiding eye contact.
Jesus smiled and said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand.”
After which, the man held out his withered extremity, and it was transformed from gray and wrinkled and worthless to healthy and pink and useful; that is, within a heartbeat, the useless extremity doubled in size and became as whole as his left hand.
The assembly erupted; some rubbed their eyes, finding it hard to believe what they had just seen.
While, simultaneously, the Scribes and Pharisees—the voices of praise and thanksgiving ringing in their ears—stormed out.
And when the religious bureaucrats were around the corner and out of sight, they stared into each other’s hate-filled eyes—they were filled with madness—they could still hear the muffled sounds of celebration coming from behind the stone walls of the Synagogue. And, like blackened clouds of doom, they began shouting to each other how they could accuse Jesus and possibly put him to death; not one of them considered the great miracle GOD had just performed in the midst of them.
Later, the Nazarene pondered the day’s events; he, of course, was aware that the leaders had a blood hatred for anything related to the Sons of Abraham; that did not begin and end with them; that they saw as a threat to their wealth, privilege, and power. Jesus knew the leaders hated him and wanted to destroy his ministry, which caused him some amount of anguish. It was in the Nazarene’s very nature—embedded within his soul—to heal everyone who asked of their diseases and to cast out demons everywhere; but, he understood the evil forces against him. He knew that his mission, the very mission GOD, the Father, had given him, was at stake; so, he gathered his disciples about him, and they all began walking toward the nearby mountains.
There was a refuge near Capernaum, where devout Jews (needing solitude) often went to be alone and pray; an area somewhat close to the village where believers had erected a small building of stone (an oratory) on the mountain-side near a running stream; this particular prayerful refuge, nestled within the foothills, was surrounded by wild fig trees.
Jesus decided to go up into the mountain to pray.
Upon reaching his destination, Jesus entered in and stayed there within the stone shelter for one whole night in prayer. While in the meantime, dozens of the Lord’s disciples gathered about—all of them were aware the hatred of the religious authorities had become intense—waiting for the Nazarene to tell them what would be next for his ministry. So, when it became day, Jesus went out and called unto him all his disciples who had gathered there, and from among them, chose twelve, whom he named Apostles. He chose Simon (whom he called by his Greek name, Peter) and Andrew, his brother… Days before, by the shore of the Inland Sea, Jesus had called Simon and Andrew to be disciples (fishers of men).
After his first two choices, Jesus named ten others to be Apostles; he named James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon called Zelotes, Judas the brother of James, and finally… Judas Iscariot. And these were to be the final twelve. Many of the men who the Lord chose had also been followers of John the Baptist, that is, up until a day, besides the River Jorden when the Baptist looked upon Jesus and said to his disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
An oil painting illustrating The Communion of the Apostles by Luca Giordano 1634-1705 hanging now in the Boston Museum of Art
With those words, John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah (the expected one), but with those same words (although hidden from his disciples), John was also prophesying about the death of his beloved cousin and Messiah’s subsequent sacrifice for the sins of the world. After that day, many of John the Baptist’s disciples followed the Rabbi from Nazareth.
After the Lord made his choices, he went into the village of Capernaum and slept at the house of Simon, his Apostle, until the following dawn; and, when he came out of the house the next morning, a group of faithful were waiting. But, that was not all, unbeknownst to the gathering of faithful outside Simon’s house, Pilgrims were on the move from all over Judea, having heard of the miracles, the latest being the restoration of the withered hand.
For some time, the faithful had been on the move after hearing rumors of miraculous healing swirling about a strange Rabbi from Nazareth about whom it was said,
“The Nazarene healed a man who was paralyzed from birth.”
“They say he told a leper to be clean, and the man’s leprosy disappeared.”
“They say he cured a man with a withered hand.”
“They say that John the Baptist’s disciples are now following this Nazarene; this Rabbi called Jesus.
The whole country was in a fervor about the new healer, which caused the sick and infirm and those beset by demons to begin a journey (aided by healthy relatives and neighbors) toward Galilee to seek out the Rabbi from Nazareth. The faithful came from areas all about the land, from as far north as the coastal regions surrounding the city-states of Sidon and Tyre and from as far south as the holy city of Jerusalem. Those coming out from around the countries of Tyre and Siden trekked south, along roads running through mountain passes west of the Sea of Galilee, to eventually terminate at the Roman city of Tiberias, where the northern Pilgrims intended to turn away at a junction with the Via Maris, head north and follow that ancient road along the Inland Sea’s western shore up to Capernaum.
Simultaneously, pilgrims had started out from around Jerusalem after hearing about the Rabbi from Nazareth—among them were priests and scribes (spies) sent by the leaders of the Grand Sanhedrin—to traverse that same ancient route, the Via Maris, heading north to Capernaum.
However, this amazing migration of the faithful toward Galilee was unbeknownst to Jesus and the twelve as they stood there outside of Simon’s house the morning after the Nazarene had chosen them to be Apostles. Miraculously, however, Jesus sensed somehow that his GOD-filled company would need a more appropriate place to minister to the faithful and to preach the coming kingdom, so he decided to trek over to a meadow plain overlooking the Inland Sea where the geography was conducive to speaking to large gatherings. Wherefore, within the hour, the Nazarene was standing there on that plain, overlooking the water, with his Apostles and disciples.
Now, it came to pass, when the inhabitants thereabouts heard that the Nazarene who had healed the man in the Synagogue with the withered hand was going to preach a sermon beside the Galilee on the plain, they came out to hear him speak; only to run into trickles of pilgrims from all over Judea, from around the city of Jerusalem, and from around the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon … all coming to hear Jesus preach and be healed of their diseases. And, those coming out from Capernaum soon discovered the paths and roads were crammed with pilgrims heading for the same destination.
At which point, later that morning, a multitude of faithful—and others—had gathered there on the plain (many of them vexed by unclean spirits) to seek Jesus.
The meadow was located adjacent to Galilee’s rocky shoreline, a dense green and brown wall of foliage standing between the plain—the wet pebbles and rounded rocks littering the uneven shoreline—and the edge of the sea. This scraggy natural boundary consisted of uneven clumps of wild mustard, wild oats, and Syrian Thistle of various yellow, brown, and green hues.
Beyond the scrubby wall, the multitude spread out over the meadow, some sitting cross-legged amid the grasses, others were standing in clear places, all watching the Nazarene intently. The whole plain was covered by humanity, right up to the gentle slope where Jesus and his Apostles and disciples were standing (some were sitting) amidst clumps of grass and rocks. Just beyond Jesus, some distance away was a strange old olive tree growing wild—the old grandfather was perhaps a hundred years old—the mighty girth of its trunk was twisted and gray, the dark-green foliage of its enormous canopy spreading out above all. The shade created by which, covering the back of Jesus as he sat there on a worn stump many before him had used as a lectern while speaking to crowds below the rise. For some reason, unbeknownst to them, the voice of an orator, standing at this place upon the slope—if the person were skillful enough—would carry out as far as the edge of the water beyond.
Sitting there upon the rise, the Nazarene, alongside his Apostles and disciples, looked out over the gathering sea of faces; young, old, in between; bearded faces, smooth faces; some half concealed by rough woolen mantles covering their heads like small tents as if cloaking some hidden shame. And among them, feminine faces, etched with worry, eyes full of desperation, all with but a single purpose, to approach the miracle worker from Nazareth about whom they had heard so much.
Continued on another page Click Here
The Question… What is Faithology? The Answer: How do you discover the meaning of any word… break it down. Take the word Faith… According to the bible, Faith is the ultimate creative power of the cosmos. So, now take the word ology; what is the meaning? Ology comes from the Greek suffix -logia which means the study of; therefore, Faithology is the study of the cosmos’ ultimate creative power.
What do we know about Faith? We know that God’s Faith called the cosmos into being. God said, “Let there be light!” And, there was light. God had absolute Faith that there would be light in a cosmos that had never experienced light before He spoke light into being. And we human beings are created in the image of God. Therefore, the great creative power of Faith in us as well.
God created us to be creatures of Faith. We all have Faith. The question is, what kind of Faith?
Put it another way, (Faith + the Word of God) = Substance (of things hoped for).
Fh + Wd = Sb
This formula summarizes the essence of all good things, the building blocks of everything in the world that is worthy.
Faith + Anything Else = Decay
For example, Faith + Lust = Sin
Sin is separation from God.
Separation from God is decay, and destruction, and turmoil, and chaos. Separation from God is the weak side of the force.
In the 3rd Century AD, there lived a man named Augustine (who eventually became Saint Augustine). Saint Augustine (see the note below) hinted that all men and women have a large God-shaped hole at the center of their being that they are driven to fill.
That hole will be filled with something.
We are the descendants of Adam and Eve, and like them, we have two legs, two eyes, two hands, and that God-shaped hole at the center of our being.
We also inherit from Adam and Eve the will to separate ourselves from God just as they choose to do; the will to separate from God is passed down to us in our spiritual genes. At one time, this was a pretty hopeless situation, but no longer. God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son on our behalf. Now we have a choice. We can fill that God-shaped hole with the love of Jesus Christ and be redeemed and set free from the choice made by our careless ancestors.
If the gospel were preached throughout the world and everyone accepted Jesus as their redeemer and were all set free from the will to separate from God, what a world they would create. There would be no war, nor murder, nor theft. It is Faith in the Word of God that makes all things possible. Mountains would be moved. Addictions would be broken, and men and women would find completeness. They would gain an understanding of the meaning and the purpose of life. They would become whole.
Through the Lord God Almighty, the Lord God of Israel, the Lord God of Peter and Paul, the Lord God of Creation, through Faith in His Word, men and women all over the world would obtain everything they need for this life and the next. The world as we know it would be changed forever.
But that might not happen in our lifetime, so do not wait for all mankind to accept Jesus. Every journey begins with a single step. Jesus loves you, and the world needs you. Bring the love of Jesus into your life.
Be the first on your block to move a mountain.
Call upon the name of Jesus, believe in your heart, speak his name with your mouth, and be prepared to see the world differently. SO, GO AHEAD... UNLOCK THE GREAT CREATIVE POWER OF THE COSMOS IN YOUR OWN LIFE.
Note: Saint Augustine was a citizen of the Roman Empire from a family of note, living in a region of the Empire located within Africa’s northern coast in what is now Algeria. Augustine eventually became a bishop in the Christian Church and was considered a great thinker of the early Roman church. He was very influential, leaving behind thousands of writings. Eventually, Augustine was named to sainthood in the Roman church, leading some to say he was as influential in the early Roman Catholic Church as Saint Paul was in the early Evangelical Church.
Genesis the Beginning
The short video just below depicts the Days of Creation accompanied by some particularly uplifting (befitting) music. The music comes from a Depression Era Orchestra that (perhaps) played in small towns throughout the USA in the late 1930s, bringing a little bit of culture to a starving (in more ways than one) Depression Era Populace. The Orchestras were part of government programs attempting to deal with the Depression, and whichever of them was responsible for this particular recording has been lost to history, perhaps this was a session wherein your grandparents in, say, Old Town, Maine, or San Bernadino, California … were present. Enjoy!