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Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters

In the country where before the invasion by the Russians lived about 50 million people, we can find people who have been exposed to a variety of religious beliefs.

The Orthodox Church –  10th-21st Century

In the tenth century, the Eastern Orthodox religion was introduced to become in 2018 the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Митрополит Київський і всієї України Епіфаній.jpg

Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Serhii Petrovych Dumenko, Epiphanius I of Ukraine, primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), holding the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine.

The church was united at the unification council in Kyiv on 15 December 2018 as a condition for recognition of it by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and was granted the tomos of autocephaly (decree of ecclesial independence) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul on 5 January 2019. The unification council voted to unite all the existing Ukrainian Orthodox major jurisdictions: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) as well as a part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (a branch of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, which claims jurisdiction over Ukraine). The Unification Council elected Epiphanius Dumenko – previously the Metropolitan of Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi and Bila Tserkva (UOC-KP) – as its primate, the Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine.

Catholicism, Islam and atheism

Later the Ottoman Empire brought Islam to southern Ukraine. Also, Polish noblemen were spreading Catholicism during the Middle Ages.

In the 20th century, many became atheists under the rule of Communism, though also a lot of religious people practised their religion in secret.

For the Bible students in the country, such religious practice in secret was nothing new, as they always had to keep themselves safe from repercussions from Trinitarian Christians, who regarded non-trinitarians as the devil.

Cross-border seeds of faith – 9th – 13th Century

Devoted Bible readers living in the Principality or, from 1253, Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia, one of the three most important powers to emerge from the collapse of Kievan Rus’ (loose federation in Eastern Europe and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century) By the Mongol invasion the Byzantine teaching of a three-headed god was replaced in the regions by the singular God by the Muslims, which made it somehow more comfortable for the Bible students to show others how the Singular God had provided His begotten son to rescue the world.

16th Century

In the 16th century, several people interested in the Word of the Only One True God by seeking refuge from their persecution by state churches in the Holy Roman Empire (mostly Germany today) and other European states, found their way into regions which became later ruled by Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia.

Because everything had to be done in secret, like in many other countries throughout Europe, it was not so easy to enlarge the community. Certainly, because they did not consider people who had a child baptism and who believed that Jesus is God, to be real Christians. This provided for a lot of controversy throughout the ages.

Jews opposing Charles Taze Russell his teaching

Charles Taze Russell, a leading Bible Student, at the end of the 19th century visited many countries in Europe and the Middle East. On his way to what was then Constantinople, Turkey, he visited Odessa in southern Ukraine in 1891. Later, in 1911, he gave a series of Bible lectures in major cities of Europe, including the city of Lvov or Lviv in western Ukraine. Lviv has historically been the chief centre of Galicia, a region now divided between Ukraine and Poland. Its position controlling east-west routes and passes across the Carpathians has given it a stormy history, but made it also a region of moving Biblestudents going from one place to another, spreading the faith, bringing a continuation of true New Testament Christianity over Eastern Europe.

Strangely enough, it was a Jewish rabbi from the United States who fiercely opposed Russell’s work who cabled a message to his associates in Lvov, denouncing the Bible Students. This incited some to try and stop Russell from speaking. About that night, Russell said

“God alone knows what his providences may be in connection with these experiences. . . . [The Jews’] excitement on the subject may lead some to a deeper investigation than if they had heard us in a decent and orderly manner.”

Though there was no immediate response to the message, seeds of truth had been sown, and many groups of Bible Students were formed later, not only in Lvov but also in other areas of Ukraine.

After World War I

Following World War I, Ukraine was divided among four neighbouring countries. The territories of central and eastern Ukraine were seized by Communist Russia and incorporated into the Soviet Union. Western Ukraine was divided among three other countries. The areas of Halychyna and Volyn’ were annexed to Poland, Bukovina to Romania, and Transcarpathia to Czechoslovakia. These three countries provided a measure of religious freedom and permitted the Bible Students to carry on their preaching. Thus, many seeds of truth that were to bear fruit later were first sown in western Ukraine.

In the early 1920’s, seeds of truth were sown in Halychyna and Volyn’ by Bible Students from Poland. Meanwhile, brothers from Romania and Moldavia (now Moldova) brought the truth into the Bukovina region.

This laid a good foundation for further growth. The Watch Tower of December 15, 1921, reported:

“Recently some of our brethren visited [Bukovina] . . . The result of their visit there for a few weeks is seven classes organized and now studying the volumes and ‘Tabernacle Shadows’. One of these classes has about 70 members.”

In 1922 in the village of Kolinkivtsi, in Bukovina, Stepan Koltsa accepted the truth, was baptised, and began preaching. Later ten families joined him. Similar growth occurred in the Transcarpathian area. By 1925 there were approximately 100 Bible Students in the village of Velyki Luchky and neighbouring villages. Following that, the first full-time servants began preaching in Transcarpathia, conducting meetings in the homes of the Bible Students. Many people asked the office in Brooklyn to send more books and pamphlets so that more people could be reached and baptised.

Such keen interest resulted in the establishing of an office of the Bible Students on Pekarska Street in Lvov. The office received many requests for literature from Halychyna and Volyn’ and regularly forwarded them to Brooklyn to be filled.

Like in many countries,several of the Biblestudents working on their own, and not having a connection with central organisations, made that we do not have exact figures of baptised Biblestudents. Though we now of ecclesiae having 50 to 100 baptised people.

In the 1920s there were were 15 publishers who had to exert themselves in order to work through the many villages with literature twice a year. Every Sunday at four o’clock in the morning, they met together at one of the village to start their house-to-house ministry at 8:00 a.m. to work until 2:00 p.m..

Since Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics have their Christmas celebrations during different weeks the brethren made use of it to bring singing sessions, but soon they stopped with those liked activities because they saw how wrong it was to be connected with that pagan festival of Christmas.

Willing to come more into the open there was decided to have a first convention of Bible Students in the Transcarpathian area. It was held in the village Velyki LuchkyIn, in the Mukachevo Raion in the Zakarpattia Oblast (province) in southwestern Ukraine, May 1926. There were 150 in attendance, and 20 were baptised. The following year 200 persons attended a convention in the outdoor central park of Uzhgorod, a city in the same region, which had passed to Czechoslovakia in 1919, to Hungary in 1938, and to the Soviet Union during World War II.  Soon other conventions were organised in various towns of Transcarpathia. In 1928, Lvov had its first convention. Later, other conventions took place in Halychyna and Volyn’ that after World War II became part of the Ukrainian S.S.R..

Despite the fact that some halls Biblestudents had built, were destroyed during the war and some were confiscated, the brothers maintained the desire to have their own Kingdom Halls and got meeting places all over the country. (Presently, there are 8 Kingdom Halls of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the village of Dibrova and 18 Kingdom Halls in six neighbouring villages).

Before World War II the majority of our brethren and sisters could be found in the West of Ukraine. Today they may be found all over Ukraine.

That Biblestudents are not spared the grim consequences of war, could already be seen in the Second World War, but now also with this Ukrainian war with Russia.  But also when there was no war, like from 1951 till the middle of the 1960’s, with the majority of the brothers imprisoned or exiled, our community had to be very careful how to preach or come into the open. Many brothers and sisters ended up in one of the 54 prison camps throughout the entire Soviet Union. In many congregations, it became necessary for sisters to take the lead.

Concealed in cellars

Today there are grandparents who feel like they are back in the old days when they had to hide in cellars and forests. Others remember how they gathered several times a week in the late evening or well into the night. They curtained their windows with heavy cloth in order to avoid detection and studied by kerosene lamp. Often the exhortations were only distributed on a written paper. Later, brothers began to receive magazines printed on duplicating machines. In KGB times the secret service was unrelenting in their determination to locate meeting places of Biblestudents so that they could punish the responsible brothers.

In Communist times holding the Memorial was the most challenging. But now with the Russians bombing Ukraine it has also become a very big challenge. Last 14 Nisan (15 of April 2022) several of our brethren and sisters did everything to make the best out of the evening. Though in several villages and cities there was not even drinkable water to prepare a meal. Bottles of alcohol brought salvation to have something extra in this time of distress.

Normally Biblestudents open their meeting to all who want to come to listen to what we have to tell. Last year there was Corona that prevented such a gathering. This year our Ukrainian brethren could not invite many. Some of them were already pleased that they could prepare a meal for 7 people, with the limited foodstuffs they still had available.

After more than 50 years of bans and persecution, today it looked again as if a period of aggression and ordeal had come over them. Some of our younger brethren had sent their youngsters to leave Ukraine, but after the bombing of the Kramatorsk station, they are now in the dark about what happened to their family members.

Having been able to meet with like-minded friends, for many it was like they belonged to the escaped ones and on that night it was as if they were resurrected from the dead by the Power of God. Even when lots of their assets were gone up in the fire, they still felt rich in the Gory of God that they were able to celebrate that special weekend in these times of war. Normally the Ukrainians eat a lot of potatoes, but this time they were not at the party nor any lamb.

While the sirens were sounding regularly, they quietly read the Bible passages and listened to the elder’s speech. Whilst bombs and weapons did not keep silent, they expressed their hope to live in a world where free nations are assertive and in the ascendant … where freedom and democracy are strengthened through a network of economic and security partnerships, and most importantly they all look forward to the return of Christ, though that would mean there shall be first that Great Tribulation. But for them, it could well be that we are already in that predicted Third World War.

Some saw this special evening also as a night to be liberated from the modern plagues. At the same time some were sad that some of their family members living in Russia do have a totally different picture of what is going on in Ukraine. The modern snake is clearly doing its work and by spreading misinformation gets tornness in otherwise close-knit families. This is one of the most terrible things that these people now have to endure in their families, a part that does not want to believe that they are being slaughtered by Russia’s murderous army.

While others have fled the country, some Ukrainian brothers and sisters have stayed in place — either bound to the land, too old or ill to travel, or simply lacking other options.

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Preceding

Preparing for 14 Nisan

Fellowship over meals

Coming together for a meal to remember a special lamb

Coming together for a meal to remember a special lamb

Jesse Hemery and the The Goshen Fellowship

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

Those who Jesus can call friends

Most important weekend of the year 2016

The Most important weekend of the year 2018

2021 Memorial of Christ’s death

Another year of 14 Nisan with restricted access

Celebrating the evening of 15 April 2022 as a festival to Jehovah God

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Additional reading

  1. A useless but very dangerous challenge game
  2. Great tribulation and Armageddon
  3. Armageddon or the Great Tribulation
  4. What makes you following Christ and Facebook Groups
  5. Christadelphian brothers and sisters in Ukraine
  6. The one who claimed he was not planning an invasion in Ukraine
  7. Does the population of Russia know what the Russian soldiers are doing in Ukraine
  8. Russian army wants to make Ukraine the Syria from Europe
  9. Weekly World Watch March 13 – 19, 2022
  10. Stories to read in the week of March/April 2022 in the Independent
  11. The Guardian’s view on Ukraine for the first half of April 2022
  12. Has Ukraine become a Symbol of ‘Freedom’

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Related

  1. The Ten Modern Plagues
  2. A replica of the first Passover
  3. The Pesach Lamb
  4. Pesach 5782
  5. “They think it’s Passover… It is now!”

Mark 8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 8:14-21 – Warning About Doctrinal Leaven

Mark 8:14-21 – Warning About Doctrinal Leaven

|| Matthew 16:5-12[1]

MK8:14 Now the disciples had forgotten to bring enough bread and only had one loaf with them in the boat.[2] MK8:15 It was then Jesus warned them, saying: “Keep looking and be on guard against the leaven of the Pharisees,[3] as well as the leaven of Herod.”[4] MK8:16 So they reasoned among themselves: “Does he say this because we did not bring bread?” MK8:17 Jesus was aware of this, so he said to them: “Why do you discuss this among yourselves? Do you not see or understand? Are you so dull of understanding?[5] MK8:18 ‘Eyes you have but do not see, ears and do not hear?’[6] [Jeremiah 5:21] MK8:19 When I continued to break the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you gather?” They said: “Twelve.” MK8:20 “And also with the seven loaves among the four thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you gather?” And they responded: “Seven.” MK8:21 “Why do you still not understand?”[7]

*

[1] Matthew 16:5-12: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.

[2] Only had one loaf with them in the boat: Again the apostles worry about what they will eat in the future after they have eaten the one loaf.

[3] Leaven of the Pharisees: Elsewhere Jesus explains this to be the “teachings” or “doctrine” of the Pharisees. Some of these same doctrines are found in modern churches and sects, indicating that not all have listened to this warning. For details see Pharisees or leaven in the footnote commentary on Matthew. Religious doctrine.

[4] Leaven of Herod: Compare notes on Matthew 16:6 and Luke 12:1. Political doctrine.

[5] Dull of understanding: Jesus is not easy on his apostles and speaks his mind whether this hurts their feelings or not.

[6] Do not hear: Jesus references Jeremiah 5:21. Compare also Isaiah 44:18 and Ezekiel 12:2. Jesus plies a powerful text to his own apostles.

[7] Still not understand: In modern times millions of materialistic Christians have never learned this lesson stated at Matthew 6:29-34. The Church has become one of the most materialistic bodies on earth.

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Preceding

Mark 8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 8:1-9 – 4000 Fed

Mark 8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 8:10-13 – Pharisees Seek Sign

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Mark 6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 6:7-13 – Apostles Sent Out by Twos

Mark 6:7-13 – Apostles Sent Out by Twos

|| Matthew 10:1, 9-14;[1] Luke 9:1-6

MK6:7 Then Jesus summoned the Twelve and started to send them forth two by two. He gave them authority over unclean demons, MK6:8 and commanded them to take nothing for their travels[2] except only a staff – no bread, no provisions sack, no copper money in their belts – MK6:9 but only sandals for their feet and no second under garment. MK6:10 Now he told them: “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you are finished. MK6:11 And, whoever will not welcome you, or listen to you, on leaving that village stamp the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” MK6:12 So the Twelve set out and preached that everyone should repent. MK6:13 Now they exorcised demons and anointed the sick with oil and healed them.

*

[1] Matthew 10:1, 9-14: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.

[2] Take nothing for their travels: Jesus explains his actions after his resurrection. He is trying to teach them a lesson of reliance on God. [Luke 22:35]

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Preceding

Mark 6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 6:1-6 – A Prophet Without Honor

Mark 1 – Additional Bible Students notes on Mark 1:9-11 – An Approved Son Baptized

The voice of one crying in the desert to prepare the way of Jehovah, to make His paths straight for His sent one, was John the baptist, Jesus’ cousin, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, whilst the sent messenger of God so many times spoken off before, was coming to baptise the people in the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Pneuma or Holy Spirit) and in fire.

People from all the countryside of Judaea, and all the people of Jerusalem went out to this baptiser, to be baptised by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins.

John the Baptist preached and gave notice that some one mightier would come after him, whose shoes he was not good enough to undo.

The men of God, called prophets, like Malachi and Isaiah, long ago wrote about it this way:

God said, ‘See, I send my man ahead of you to tell about you. He will make the way ready for you.

Malachi prophesied that before the great King should come unto Zion, a harbinger should come before him, to prepare his way.

John by his preaching turned the ears of the people to the sound of the gospel, and so prepared them for the coming Christ.

“29  The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”” (Joh 1:29-34 NIV)

The evangelist Mark tells us about that time when Jesus came from the town of Nazareth in the country of Galilee and asked John to baptise him in the Jordan River. In this text we also get already a signal about the baptism into death and the baptism of the Holy Spirit which are distinctly separate.

After the baptism of Jesus happened something which lots of Christians seem to forget (on purpose or not) or do not seem to understand God’s Words, though they very clearly declare who that man, standing in the River Jordan is.

As soon as Jesus came up out of the water, Jesus and the people around him, saw the sky opening. They could see God’s Holy Spirit come down on Jesus like a bird called a dove. And then sounded a voice from the sky which declared that this man standing in the water was His dear Son.

“13  Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him. 16 And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”” (Mt 3:13-17 NAS)

So many, who call themselves “Christian” do not want to accept that Jesus is the son of God, but keep insisting that Jesus is God Himself, and not the one in Whom God is pleased. Though the Holy Scriptures gives a clear wording of God:

“And lo a voice from heaven, saying,

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:17 AV)

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”” (Mt 3:17 NIV)

There is no reason at all that Jehovah would mislead people or would not tell the truth, because Jehovah God is a god of truth, not telling lies.

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Nu 23:19 AV)

“Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.” (Ps 89:35 AV)

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Tit 1:2 AV)

In case Jesus would be God then when God would not be a liar He would have told the people that He was standing there. But Jehovah, the God above all gods said:

“And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Lu 3:22 AV)

Also on other occasions, we come to hear that Jesus is a servant chosen by god. The Bible nowhere tells us it would be God having come to be a servant of someone. In case Jesus would be God, than God’s Spirit is in Him always and then Jesus could not be killed, because man can do God nothing, and certainly can not kill God. But the God, Who cannot be seen by man, came over the Nazareen man who was seen by many, to give him authorisation. Jesus is not God but is the man who is loved by God and who received honour and glory from God.

“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.” (Mt 12:18 AV)

“For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (2Pe 1:17 AV)

Throughout the rest of his gospel, the apostle Mark shows us what kind of Messiah this Nazarene man is. We also come to read in his gospel how people came to hear the words of Jesus, but did not want to agree with them. Also the words about his heavenly Father, the Only One True God, did not please them. About how to live life by following him was what many did not want and still do not want.

We should accept the words of God as the Words of Truth. As such we should see that beloved son of God in Jesus Christ and we should hear and listen to that beloved son of God.

“And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Mr 9:7 AV)

We should “Listen to him!” (Mr 9:7 NIV) who was declared to be the son of God and who very well knew that God is much greater than him.

“”You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (Joh 14:28 NIV)

“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”” (Joh 20:17 NIV)

“Now I want you to realise that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3 NIV)

“When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” (1Co 15:28 NIV)

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,” (Php 2:6 NIV)

Therefore, let us always keep to the Words of God and believe Him Who does not tell lies. Today still too many people are blinded by the light of false human doctrines. They prefer to keep holding unto the human dogma of the Trinity. They also do not believe what the followers of Christ came to believe, like Peter did. Peter, after Jesus had asked him who he thought Jesus was, was convinced that Jesus is the Messiah or the Christ.

“29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”  (Mr 8:29 NIV)

A few days later Peter and his friends James and John are taken up a high mountain apart where they experience something incredible.

“1  And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” 2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Again we encounter a part in Scriptures which a lot of so-called Christians do not want to accept. Again there is God telling us that Jesus is His son, and again there are millions of Christians who ignore God’s saying.

7 Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

8 Suddenly, when they looked round, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” 12 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”” (Mr 9:1-13 NIV)

When Jesus told that, he previously also had told about his coming end.

“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” (Mr 8:31 NIV)

As such let us not only accept Jesus as the son of God, but let us also make his name and deeds be known all over the world, telling about the Good News he came to bring.

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Preceding

Mark 1 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

Mark 1 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Mark 1:9-11 – An Approved Son Baptized

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

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Additional reading

  1. Who do you say Jesus is
  2. Jesus son of God
  3. Jesus son of God or God the son
  4. Thought for the Christmas time: A sense of history
  5. The place where Jesus was brought up
  6. When you believe Jesus is God: who do you think is the mediator? #1 Son of man
  7. Truth, doubt or blindness
  8. Trinity
  9. Trinity – the Truth about God
  10. Behind a False doctrine – the Trinity
  11. Trinity matter
  12. Trinity – history
  13. Jesus Christ, his Mission, Life and Work

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John the Baptist baptizing in the Jordan River. by Good News Productions International from FreeBibleImages.com (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

John the Baptist baptizing in the Jordan River by Good News Productions International from FreeBibleImages.com (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Further related

  1. The Rainbow and the Dove
  2. The Baptism of Jesus
  3. The Baptism of Jesus – the Revised Common Lectionar
  4. The Baptism of Our Lord: To Fulfill All Righteousness
  5. Baptism | Matthew 3:13-17
  6. Sunday Reading: The Baptism of the Lord (Mark 1:7-11)
  7. Baptism of the Lord, Yr B, 2021: Gospel Passage – We receive baptism, again
  8. Following Jesus in Prayer
  9. Indentification
  10. By what Authority
  11. The Son of God
  12. My Beloved Son
  13. Matthew 3: Repent of Your Sins and Trust Jesus or Face the Unquenchable Fire
  14. The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus.
  15. Read the instructions…
  16. What is God
  17. Potential Unleashed
  18. Problem with Christians
  19. Underwater
  20. Feast of the Baptism – One with Us
  21. The Heart’s Transformation
  22. Metaphors for Baptism (Part 2): The Baptism of Jesus
  23. Christ-Light Connections: The Baptism of Jesus & The Temptation of Jesus
  24. No Regret This Time
  25. Meeting Jesus In-Between

Het niemand of niets in de duisternis

Als we naar ons leven kijken, kan het ons soms depressief maken, waardoor we de “leegte” voelen, het missen van gelijkgestemde mensen.

Hoevelen van ons bouwen niet op veel ambities, hoop, dromen en verwachtingen?

Ons hoofd tolt van de vele vragen die we hebben. Zij komen een oor in en een oor uit. En elk moment dat we proberen naar rechts of naar links te kijken, is het alsof we worden geraakt door een bokshandschoen.

Als we merken dat het lijkt alsof we alleen zijn met ons geloof in Jezus en het komende Koninkrijk, voelen we ons soms verlaten. Hoewel dat we moeten weten dat God ons niet in de steek laat, zoals Hij Jezus niet in de steek heeft gelaten. Maar Jezus had ook een moment om te wanhopen en riep zijn hemelse Vader toe en riep tot Hem, om te vragen waarom Hij hem had verlaten.

46 Rond het negende uur riep Jezus luid: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ Dat betekent: ‘Mijn God, mijn God, waarom hebt u mij verlaten?’+ (Mattheüs 27:46)

Zoals Jezus het uitschreeuwde vanaf de houten paal, zo hebben we ook momenten dat we tot God willen roepen. Ja, het kan elke gelovige overkomen dat hij of zij Gods aanwezigheid in twijfel trekt. Het is begrijpelijk dat we zulke momenten kunnen hebben dat we twijfels hebben over onszelf, over ons geloof, over God.

Op zulke momenten van twijfel, in momenten van angst en wanhoop, worden we door onze Schepper en Onderhouder uitgenodigd om hoop te zoeken. Hij heeft ons Zijn Woord gegeven om ons dagelijks voedsel te geven, om stap voor stap en dag na dag te kunnen gaan. Dat Woord van God kunnen we elk moment van de dag opnemen. Het is Gods liefdesbrief aan ons. Uit dat grote boek met boeken zouden we kracht en hoop moeten kunnen ontvangen. Hoop komt voort uit ons vertrouwen dat zelfs als we niet het gevoel hebben dat God aanwezig is, God voor ons zal verschijnen. Wanneer we ons het meest verlaten, gekwetst en gebroken voelen, zullen we ons die momenten vaak herinneren als de momenten waarop Jehovah God het krachtigst voor ons heeft getoond. Dat zijn de momenten die ons leven en ons geloof vormen.

Zoals Jehovah God Jezus niet in de steek had gelaten, zal Hij degenen die van Hem houden niet alleen of achterlaten.

28 Want Jehovah heeft gerechtigheid lief, hij laat zijn loyalen niet in de steek.+ע [ajin] Ze zullen altijd beschermd worden,maar de nakomelingen van de slechten worden vernietigd.+ (Psalm 37:28)

Zelfs als God met ons zou kunnen zijn, kunnen we het gevoel hebben dat we alleen zijn met ons geloof, omringd door een meerderheid van mensen die niets wil weten over God of de Bijbelse Waarheid.

Voortdurend lijken we geconfronteerd te worden met een leegte die ons de duisternis in trekt. Soms voelt het alsof we een “niemand” of een “niets” zijn.
Zonder iemand te zijn en zonder iemand om ons heen te hebben, blijven we onvervuld en onvolledig. Ons instinct wil dat we ons mengen met anderen. We zijn niet gemaakt om alleen te zijn.

Dit oerinstinct om iets te zijn, is datgene wat onze inspanningen drijft om te vermijden dat we niets zijn.

De dreiging hiervan is de wortel om onszelf te verliezen aan de afleiding van alles, wanneer we de hoop verliezen om ooit iets te zijn … voor iemand … maar niet zomaar iemand. {Elusive peace…}

Als we ouder worden, lijkt dit een groter probleem te worden dan toen we jong waren. Dan komt er een tijd dat we ons leven willen scannen en willen zien wat we tot stand hebben gebracht. Hoeveel moeite hebben we erin gestoken en wat heeft het  opgeleverd. Wat kleeft er aan ons geheugen? Wat vinden we de moeite waard om te onthouden?

Om ons heen zien we zoveel mensen die succesvoller lijken te zijn dan wij. Ze kunnen veel luisterende oren krijgen, gretig om hun filosofieën te horen die mensen slechts een schaduw geven van wat ze graag zouden willen zien. Hoewel we weten dat ze niet die troost of verzekering kunnen bieden die we mensen graag bieden, omdat we leven door onze hoop in Jezus Christus. Voortdurend worden we geconfronteerd met die mensen die vinden dat hun weg de beste manier is. Maar wat ze niet zien, is dat wat we willen dat ze gaan zien dat de weg die voor zoveel mensen goed lijkt, het einde is of de weg naar de dood.

We leven in die wereld vol ijdelheid, waar de mens zelfs denkt dat hij voor god kan spelen en kan creëren wat hij maar wil.

20 Want de schepping is onderworpen aan een zinloos bestaan,+ niet uit eigen wil, maar door degene die haar daaraan heeft onderworpen. Dat deed hij op basis van de hoop (Romeinen 8:20)

We zouden graag degenen die denken dat ze het zonder God kunnen, laten zien dat het beter is om onder de vleugels van God te komen. Er is namelijk een alternatief voor de uiteindelijke conclusie van onheil en de nutteloosheid van de menselijke filosofie.

23 Want de zonde betaalt als loon de dood.+ Maar God geeft als gave eeuwig leven+ door Christus Jezus, onze Heer.+ (Romeinen 6:23)

In deze wereld moeten we zelfs strijden tegen degenen die zeggen dat ze christen zijn, maar niet willen erkennen wie Jezus is en hoe belangrijk het is om in hem te geloven die God zijn geliefde zoon noemde.

25 Jezus zei tegen haar: ‘Ik ben de opstanding en het leven.+ Wie in mij gelooft, zal, ook al sterft hij, weer tot leven komen. 26 En iedereen die leeft en in mij gelooft, zal helemaal nooit sterven.+ Geloof je dat?’ (Johannes 11:25, 26)

Jezus antwoordde hem: ‘Ik ben de weg+ en de waarheid+ en het leven.+ Alleen via mij kun je bij de Vader komen.+ (Johannes 14:6)

Voortdurend worden we geconfronteerd met die koppige mensen die niet geloven dat Jezus bestond, of die denken dat Jezus God is, in plaats van in de God van Jezus te geloven en te accepteren dat Jezus de weg naar God is en niet naar zichzelf. Zo verdrietig, en als je daar staat omringd door zoveel ongelovigen, kan het zo eenzaam aanvoelen, zo donker in een wereld die zoveel, maar oh zo weinig, te bieden heeft.  De eindtijd nadert en het baart ons ook zoveel zorgen, zeker wanneer we meer leugens zien die de hoofden van mensen omringen. Nepnieuws lijkt de strijd om aandacht te hebben gewonnen.

Hoewel we de kracht zouden moeten vinden om mensen te blijven roepen om de echte Christus te volgen, de Joodse Nazarener Jeshua (Jesjoea), de zoon van David en zoon van God. Als we onze weg naar God voortzetten, zouden we troost moeten vinden in het feit dat er niet zo velen zullen zijn die in Jezus zullen geloven en hun best zullen doen om op het goede spoor te blijven, en die in staat zullen zijn om de kleine poort naar het Koninkrijk van God binnen te gaan.  We zouden dat licht in de wereld, dat door God is gegeven, moeten zien en volgen. Dat is de boodschap die wij willen uitdragen zodat meer mensen zouden kunnen zien dat Jezus het licht van de wereld is. +

8 12 Jezus nam opnieuw het woord en zei: ‘Ik ben het licht van de wereld.+ Wie mij volgt zal nooit in duisternis lopen, maar zal het licht+ van het leven bezitten.’ (Johannes 8:12)

14 Maar nauw is de poort en smal is de weg die naar het leven leidt, en maar weinig mensen vinden die.+15 Pas op voor de valse profeten,+ die in schaapskleren naar jullie toe komen+ maar eigenlijk roofzuchtige wolven zijn.+ (Mattheüs 7:14, 15)

Als we ons somber voelen, moeten we bedenken dat de apostelen en andere eerste volgelingen van Christus ook maar met enkelen waren die niet geliefd waren bij de meerderheid. Ze moesten ook vaak worstelen. Ze konden ook kracht vinden door te weten dat ze met veel beproevingen te maken zouden kunnen krijgen, maar er zou altijd een uitweg zijn, en de poort naar Gods koninkrijk, dat veel beter zou zijn dan enig koninkrijk hier op aarde.

22 Daar spraken ze de discipelen moed in,+ en ze spoorden hen aan in het geloof te blijven. Ze zeiden: ‘We moeten door veel moeilijkheden heen om Gods Koninkrijk binnen te gaan.’+ (Handelingen 14:22)

18 ‘En als de rechtvaardige al met moeite wordt gered, wat zal er dan gebeuren met de goddeloze en de zondaar?’+ (1 Petrus 4:18)

Allen die geloven dat Jezus de zoon van God is en de weg naar het leven, moeten de handen bij elkaar steken en elkaar versterken. Laten we ons er allemaal van bewust zijn dat de weg die naar de vernietiging leidt, een weg is die door de meerderheid wordt bewandeld. Als we geen deel uitmaken van die meerderheid, hoeven we ons niet zoveel zorgen te maken, omdat we zouden moeten weten dat er Iemand is die ons over de moerassen en woestijnen van deze wereld wil dragen.

Laten we het zand van de woestijn niet in onze ogen krijgen door de vele valse leringen die deze materialistische wereld omringen. Laten we, in plaats van een kleine zandkorrel te zijn, bij elkaar blijven als een klomp aarde en de handen ineen slaan als zaaiers van productief zaad.

44 Het wordt gezaaid als een fysiek lichaam, het wordt opgewekt als een geestelijk lichaam. Als er een fysiek lichaam is, dan is er ook een geestelijk lichaam. (1 Korinthiërs 15:44)

Laat onze stem door de lucht en de duisternis blijven gaan, zodat iemand ergens het kleine vonkje licht kan zien.

We moeten ons altijd bewust zijn van het belang van onze eigen vrije keuze. We zullen altijd moeten beslissen welke weg we gaan, de brede weg van de wereld of de kleine of smalle weg van God.

De vraag komt neer op wie zal ik geloven. Zal ik de wereld vertrouwen die geen garanties kan geven en een onzekere toekomst?

Of zal ik de door God gezondene vertrouwen die zichzelf bewees door voor mijn zonden aan de martelpaal te betalen, in mijn plaats te sterven, en vervolgens in overwinning uit de dood opstond, precies zoals hij zei dat hij zou doen (Mattheüs 17:23, 20:19, 28: 5-6)?

Ook hij voelde zich soms alleen. Ook hij moest op zijn God vertrouwen. Hij legde zijn eigen wil opzij voor het doen van de Wil van zijn hemelse Vader.

Bent u bereid uw eigen wil opzij te zetten om de wil van God te doen?

Bent u bereid om, zoals Jezus deed, de woestijn in te gaan om over God te praten en het goede nieuws van het komende koninkrijk van God te verspreiden?

Als we de Schrift lezen, zullen we ons ervan bewust worden dat Jehovah God werkelijk de enige is die we volledig kunnen vertrouwen. Door te weten dat Hij betrouwbaar en trouw is, zouden we meer vertrouwen in Hem moeten krijgen en Hem toe staan onze angst en droevige, depressieve stemming weg te nemen. Met Hem in ons hart zullen we niet teleurgesteld zijn.

Ze riepen tot u en werden bevrijd. Ze vertrouwden op u en werden niet teleurgesteld.*+ (Psalm 22:5)
Als we ons depressief of neerslachtig voelen omdat het lijkt alsof we de mensen niet kunnen bereiken, laten we dan een spirituele wapenrusting aantrekken die alleen van God komt, omdat we in een spirituele strijd verwikkeld zijn in plaats van een fysieke.  

10 Tot slot, blijf kracht putten+ uit de Heer en uit zijn grote macht. 11 Trek de complete wapenrusting+ van God aan, zodat je stand kunt houden tegen de listen* van de Duivel. 12 Want we hebben een strijd* te voeren,+ niet tegen vlees en bloed, maar tegen de regeringen, tegen de autoriteiten, tegen de wereldheersers van deze duisternis, tegen de slechte geestenmachten+ in de hemelse gewesten. 13 Doe daarom de complete wapenrusting van God aan+ om weerstand te kunnen bieden op de dag van het kwaad en om goed voorbereid stand te kunnen houden. (Efeziërs 6:10-13)

Als we Jehovah’s hulp aanvaarden en volledig op Hem vertrouwen, kunnen we erin slagen de tegenstanders van God te weerstaan. Als we hetzelfde soort vertrouwen kunnen hebben als de apostel Paulus. Hij schreef:

31 Wat moeten we hier verder over zeggen? Als God vóór ons is, wie zal dan tegen ons zijn?+ (Romeinen 8:31)

Dus laten we uit de duisternis stappen, onze handen uitstrekken naar degenen die ook van Jezus en zijn God houden. Laten we onze krachten bundelen en de meeste aandacht besteden aan het leren over Jehovah en het dienen van Hem.

Laat mij in uw waarheid wandelen en leer mij,want u bent mijn God van redding. ו [waw]

De hele dag hoop ik op u .(Psalm 25:5)

+

Voorgaande

Alleenvoelend bang om met anderen te verbinden om te groeien in geloof

God liefhebben en Bekommeren om je medemensen

Christenen die het juiste hart hebben om anderen te roepen om naar God te komen

++

Aanvullend

  1. Welke eenzaamheid is meer eenzaam dan wantrouwen?
  2. Neil Anderson en het juk van angst en depressie
  3. Vermoeidheid van de ziel en geestelijke afzondering
  4. Een verstoorde geest vormt een rusteloos kussen
  5. Wandeling door de vallei van de schaduw van de dood
  6. Angst, twijfel en cynisme laten wegvloeien
  7. Ter verdediging van Twijfel
  8. Twijfel doodt meer dromen dan mislukken
  9. Indien Twijfel
  10. Twijfelende aan de werkelijkheid, echtheid en de effectiviteit van Gods liefde
  11. Hoop begint in het donker
  12. De stilte is niet leeg maar vol antwoorden
  13. Het treffen van tijd en toeval
  14. Fundamentalisme en religie #6 Versplintering
  15. Vrees hebben voor de juiste persoon
  16. Schepper en Blogger God 7 Een Blog van een Boek 1 De Blogger geloven
  17. God is een verhaal #1 Een sensationeel krantenkopje
  18. God is een verhaal #2 Voorgangers niet gediend met een Enige God
  19. 2019-2020-2021 Twee seizoenen vol veranderingen #4 Medewerking
  20. Bijbel medicijn tegen depressie
  21. Een persoon wordt alleen beperkt door de gedachten die hij kiest
  22. Heb vertrouwen in je geloof … twijfel aan je twijfels
  23. De uitdagingen van het leven mogen u niet verlammen
  24. Trouw wanneer het meest nodig is
  25. Optimisme is het geloof dat leidt tot succes
  26. Jezus volgen bevrijdt van faalangst en prestatiedruk
  27. Hoop
  28. Hoop begint in het donker
  29. Niet hoe je valt, wel hoe je opstaat
  30. De balans vinden omdat Jezus ons zowel God als onze eigen ellende toont
  31. Zit je in de put? Stop dan met graven!
  32. Wie straalt, loopt nooit in het donker
  33. Het is niet proberen maar vertrouwen
  34. Geef je tranen aan God
  35. Roependen en vertrouwenden worden niet beschaamd
  36. De nacht is ver gevorderd 23 Studie 4 Nu actueel: Daad van geloof
  37. Gedachte voor vandaag “Geloof in moeilijke tijden” (14 januari)
  38. Geloof in Jezus Christus
  39. Koninkrijk van God
  40. Koninkrijk van Christus en Koninkrijk van God
  41. Hoe leest u? Om het koninkrijk van God binnen te gaan
  42. Prediking van het Koninkrijk
  43. Koninkrijk Gods
  44. Wereldwijde Koninkrijksregering
  45. Gospel of Evangelie – het Goede Nieuws
  46. Goede Nieuwsbrengers
  47. Vergeten predikers van het Goede Nieuws
  48. Verkondiger van het Koninkrijk van God

+++

Gerelateerd

  1. Mindmap je door je leven
  2. Over de leegte die ontstaat door corona
  3. Hoe warm is jouw nest?
  4. Donkere wolken boven de geloofsgemeenschap?
  5. Religie
  6. Kerkdiensten
  7. Een kerkdienst zonder kerkgangers?
  8. Kerkdienst thuis
  9. Kerkdienst met poes
  10. Als anderen niet langer meedoen en/of niet meer in God geloven: hoe houden we het dan vol om kerk te zijn?
  11. Bijbelverkondigers zijn de traditionele complotdenkers. Jure Ambroz zegt dat onderzoek van de bijbel en het zoeken van God ‘nu nog kan’
  12. Vertrouwen in goddelijke kracht
  13. Het moe zijn moe
  14. Een hemelse boodschap
  15. Hoe moeten we in God geloven om door God te worden goedgekeurd?
  16. Mijn Dierbare, ik plaats alles in Gods handen
  17. Als we in alles op God vertrouwen, kunnen we de weg verkrijgen om te bewandelen
  18. Vertrouw op God, we hebben een manier om een baan te vinden
  19. Opgestaan, plaats vergaan…
  20. ‘Krijgen we ze weer terug?’
  21. Oordeel niet te makkelijk over mensen die nog niet naar de kerk komen

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