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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
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    Sun, May 31st - 11:51AM


    "And as they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.  And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.  But Jesus turning to them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare children, and the breasts which never nursed.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry tree (23:26-31)?"

       The Roman soldiers grabbed a Cyrenian, named Simon, to carry Jesus' cross once Jesus could no longer drag it along.  Most depictions of this part of the crucifixion scene do not include the words that Jesus pronounces upon Jerusalem.  He turns His head to look upon the women who are following Him, wailing and lamenting His persecution.  It is here that He reveals more information concerning the approaching destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions and the far distant end of the age, when He shall pass judgment upon all mankind.  

       The crucifixion of Christ Jesus is both most shocking and most wonderful, all at the same time.  It is a central point in human history, it has impacted mankind more than any other event in history.  This crucifixion finds the creature murdering its Creator.  Yet it also finds the Creator saving the creature.  Out of the seventeen-odd events that happened during this crucifixion, one of them was the conversion of Simon the Cyrene.  His bearing the cross of Christ is a picture of conversion for us today to consider.  Since nothing is left to chance with God, Simon's being pressed into carrying Christ's cross was in the plan of God.  Apparently Simon was a pilgrim coming to celebrate Passover.  Just standing along the roadway watching this unusual procession pass by, suddenly Simon is grabbed and required to bear the burden of Jesus' cross.  Who was this Simon?  Mark tells us that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21).  Apparently they were known believers (Acts 13:1, Romans 16:13).  Indications are that Simon or at least his two sons became converted.  This event ought to bring to remembrance what Jesus said in Luke 9:23, "And He said to them all, If any person will come after Me, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross daily, and follow Me."  

       We also witness here Godly sorrow.  There were many hearts that now mourned for Jesus' fate.  The word "bewailed" means to cut, strike, smite, beat.  The women were cut to the core of their beings, actually feeling pain for Christ.  "Lamented" means to cry out loudly, to mourn, to groan.  These people were unable to remain silent any longer, they had to vocalize the pain and suffering that they were experiencing as they witnessed their Lord and Master drag His cross, and Himself, through the streets of Jerusalem and out to Golgotha.  Not all of the people in this great crowd following the progress of Jesus were wailing and lamenting.  No, a large number simply were experiencing a natural response to someone else's sufferings.  A natural response to the Lord's sufferings is just not enough.  A person simply must understand why Christ suffered and must then feel a godly sorrow over Christ having to bear the sins of the entire world.  "For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death (II Corinthians 7:10)."  "Remember them that are bonds, as being bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body (Hebrews 13:2)."  

       One of the events revealed to us in this passage of scripture is the prophecy about Jerusalem.  Jesus uttered the "doom of Jerusalem", painting a picture of its coming judgment.  Even as Jesus dragged Himself towards Golgotha, He was still thinking about judgment.  These people had rejected God's Messiah and the offered salvation.  They preferred to go with the world's system, not wishing to admit that that led to doom and destruction.  Verse 31 is actually a proverb-like saying.  If Rome would do such a thing to the Messiah (World versus a green tree) what then would they do to Israel?  Or to any nation that chose to rebel against them?  We need to understand that this Godly judgment was not an impulsive sort of thing.  Israel had rejected God's invitation for generations.  God had been more than patient with Israel and its leaders.  But the rejection and killing of His only Begotten Son, the Lamb of God, was the last straw.  Apparently God only waited until Christianity achieved a solid foothold within the world before ushering in the physical judgment of Jerusalem and scattering the Israelites.  

    That is all for today beloved!  Next time I will pick up with verse 32.  I pray that you have a most blessed day!  Grace and peace be yours!


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    Tue, May 19th - 9:23PM


    "And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said to them, You have brought this man to me, as one that perverts the people: and, behold, I , having examined Him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things of which you accuse Him: No, not even Herod, for I sent You to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done to Him.  I will therefore chastise Him, and release Him.  (For of necessity he must release one to them at the feast.)  And the people cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas.  (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)  Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spoke again to them.  But they cried, saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him.  And he said to them the third time, Why, what evil has He done?  I have found no cause of death in Him: I will therefore chastise Him, and let Him go.  And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified.  And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.  And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.  And he released Barabbas, the one who had been cast into prison for sedition and murder, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will (Luke 23:13-25)."

       We continue to witness Pilate's capitulation to the desires of the mob, of the world.  Pilate failed to stand up for the truth, he gave in to the demands of the crowd.  We see him attempting to appease the Jewish religious rulers.  Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of the alleged charges.  Yet, he feared upsetting the Jews too much for they might cause trouble for him, reporting him to Rome, causing him to lose his position and status.  His own wife warned him not to get involved in Jesus' death, but he did not heed her advice.  Acts of compromise are always viewed by the world as being ever so noble in intent.  It is the good old "you scratch my back and I will scratch yours."  Compromises usually seek to secure influence, acceptance, image, security, and power.  Compromises do not uphold truth, they settle for something less than the truth.  

       Let's consider Pilate and how he arrived at his position in Israel.  He had become the procurator of Judea.  He was directly responsible to the Emperor of the Roman Empire for the administrative and financial management of the country.  A man had to work himself up through the political and military ranks to become a procurator.  Pilate was an able man, experienced in the affairs of politics and government as well as the military.  He held office for ten years which shows that he was highly trusted by the Roman government.  But the Jews despised him, and Pilate despised the Jews for their intense practice of religion.  When Pilate became procurator he did two things that ignited their bitter hatred against him.  First, on his state visits to Jerusalem, he and his military guard rode their stallions into the city with the Roman standard, an eagle sitting atop a pole.  All previous governors had removed the standard because of the Jew's opposition to idols.  Second, Pilate launched the construction of a new water supply for Jerusalem.  To finance this project, he took the money out of the temple treasury.  The Jews never forgot or forgave this act.  

       So here we have two forces bitterly opposing one another, and one of them drags an innocent man before the other for crucifixion.  Pilate saw the evidence, wanted to declare Jesus innocent, but he also had this crowd of Jews who despised him and were looking for any reason to get rid of him as well.  Desiring to retain his position as procurator, even if he despised those over whom he had the rule, Pilate invoked the Roman custom to release a popular prisoner to the Jews at the Passover Feast in order to humor and secure more cooperation from the Jewish people.  Rather than set Jesus free himself, Pilate surrendered his authority to do so by giving the choice to the people.  Compromise.  This action does several things in one's life.  It weakens character and testimony, weakens principle, position, and life.  It also means the person agrees to do something less than what he/she ought to be doing.  God accepts no compromise concerning His Son, Christ Jesus.  Either you stand for Christ or against Christ.  There can be no neutral ground.  One can't sit on the proverbial fence and not make a choice.  

       The pressure of the world to do evil is great.  Indecision and compromise are not the way to face the world: decisive dedication to Christ and separation from the world alone can conquer the world.  "Therefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (II Corinthians 6:17-18)."  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will to God (Romans 12:1-2)."  "Do not love the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If anyone love the world, the love of the Father is not in them.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but it is of the world (I John 2:15-16)."  

       We must clearly realize and understand that most people prefer the company of other unbelieving sinners to that of the Prince of Life.  Even worldly religionists choose the world over the Prince of Life.  Even among the organized, Christian denominations religionists actively choose the world over Christ Jesus and eternal life.  Nothing has changed from when the Sanhedrin chose to kill the Lamb of God.  Nothing has changed from when Cain murdered Able.  Mankind's basic nature has never changed, despite all of the education and technology that has been applied in cosmetic fashion over the centuries.  "By faith Moses, when he was come to maturity, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24-25)."  "You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware otherwise you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness (II Peter 3:17)."

    We must realize, and accept, that most people will choose to continue living the lives that they have been living, simply because they know what to expect from those lives.  Choosing to walk a radically different path through life, one filled with unknowns, scares many people to the point of not choosing to become spiritually free.  They would rather remain locked into their own personal prison cell with no hope of ever changing their lives for the better.  That is how it is for housewives locked in marriages that contain absolutely no love.  That is how it is for children who have never known what true parents are and how they ought to treat their children.  That is how it is for employees who feel that they can't do anything besides the job that they currently hold, even though each day is boring, abusive, and low paying.  These people all refuse to look and behold the new reality that Christ Jesus offers to each of them.  New beginnings, new innocence, new faith, new hope, new love, and new and abundant life.  

    That is all for today, beloved!  Next time I will look at verses 26-49.  It depicts the man who bears his cross, a picture of spiritual conversion.  It also contains the prediction of Jerusalem's doom, a picture of coming judgment.  May grace and peace be with you always!


    Comment (0)

    Tue, May 12th - 9:51PM


    "Then the whole crowd got up and took Him to Pilate.  They began to accuse Him, "We found this man corrupting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He is the Messiah, a king."  Then Pilate asked Him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"  He answered, "You say so."  Then Pilate told the high priests and crowds, "I do not find anything chargeable in this man."  But they kept insisting, "He is stirring up the people with what He teaches all over Judea, from where He started in Galilee to this place."  When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.  When he learned with certainty that Jesus came from Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him off to Herod, who was in Jerusalem at that time.  Now Herod was very glad to see Jesus, because he had been wanting to see Him for a long time on account of what he had heard about Him.  He was also hoping to see some sign done by Him.  So he continued to question Him for a long time, but Jesus gave him no answer at all.  Meanwhile, the high priests and the scribes stood nearby and continued to accuse Him vehemently.  Even Herod and his soldiers treated Him with contempt and made fun of Him.  He put a magnificent robe on Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate.  So Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day.  Before this they had been enemies (Luke 23:1-12)."  

       The Sanhedrin dragged Jesus to Pilate.  The depth of their feelings of obstinate unbelief can be seen in that "the whole multitude" rose up and took Him before the Roman Governor.  Records indicate that there would have been 71 men present if the whole body was present.  The trial before Pilate reveals his shirking of duty.  Three political charges were leveled against Jesus during Pilate's questioning of Jesus.  The claim of Jesus was one of the charges brought against Him, and in the eyes of Rome it would have been the most serious.  Pilate, surprised by the charge, scornfully asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews.  Jesus only reply, "You say so."  However, we must also keep in mind John points out that Jesus clearly stated that His Kingdom was not of this world.  His Kingdom was spiritual in nature (John 18:36-37).  We will look more closely at that passage when we explore the Book of John next.  
       It must be firmly kept in mind that Jesus was not a political revolutionary, not a threat to any civil government.  This remains true to this very day.  The outcry against Christians wishing to take over the government of the United States of America is ludicrous.  A theocracy established and run by man is always doomed to failure.  It is due to our basic nature.  Jesus is the King of man's spirit and of heaven, of the spiritual dimension of being, not of this earth.  Jesus came to rule and reign in the hearts and lives of people, in the realm of the spiritual and eternal, not in the realm of the physical and temporal.  
       We must keep in mind the verdict of Pilate:  Jesus was innocent of the charges.  This was a public verdict.  Yet, as is too commonly seen in leaders, he did not have the inner strength to stand by his convictions.  He ultimately caved in to the pressure placed upon him by the "world."  The unbelievers presented their bitter protest and enlarged charge.  Accusing Jesus, they demonstrated their closed-minded obstinacy, bitterness, and spitefulness.  They claimed Jesus lead a nation-wide revolution.  Why didn't Jesus defend Himself?  Why not set the facts straight?  Why not refute the false claims being made against Him?  Because His purpose was not to defend Himself in order to escape death.  His purpose was to surrender to the sinful behavior of people.  The act of sin to which He subjected Himself was the rejection and killing of the Son of God.  Jesus did not respond because He was purposed to die for the sins of all people.  
       I must not overlook the fact that in the end, Pilate declares Jesus innocent four different times.  Pilate wished to release Jesus, for he knew that Jesus was innocent of the trumped up charges.  But he also had to guard against upsetting the leaders of the Jewish nation.  It was a case of being caught between a rock and a hard place.  Upon hearing Galilee mentioned, Pilate thought that he could dump this entire mess into Herod's lap.  Let Herod pass judgment upon Jesus.  Galilee was Herod's jurisdiction and thus Jesus was his problem and not Pilate's.  Pilate saw the truth and yet he still looked to escape his duty to declare the truth.  Four times he tried to avoid his duty.  First he tried to get the Jews to handle the matter themselves (Luke 18:31).  Then he sent Jesus to Herod (Luke 23:7).  He tried to get the Jews to accept Jesus as the prisoner to be released at the Passover (Luke 23:17-19, Mark 15:6).  Finally, he suggested flogging Jesus and then letting Him go free (Luke 23:16).  Pilate was a man uncomfortable with having to stand up against a religious crowd even though he knew the truth.  
       Now Jesus was beset with three political charges.  He was charged with perverting the entire nation, of treason, of being a revolutionary and committing sedition against Rome.  Rather than going around perverting people, Jesus was trying to convert people to a heavenly world.  He was charged with disobeying the laws of the nation, in particular for not paying taxes, and encouraging others to not pay their taxes either.  He was charged with being King, with being a direct rival to Caesar.  In fact, Jesus never said to anyone, at any time, that they need not pay their taxes.  He refused to allow the people to set Him up as King (John 6:15).  
       Returning to Herod, we find that he had absolutely no concern for the truth, nor for his own soul.  The possibility that the true Messiah might actually be standing before him never crossed his mind.  Herod sought signs and wonders, the spectacular.  He had heard many things about Jesus and wanted Him to perform these things right before him.  It almost seems that he desired to be entertained by Jesus.  At any rate, Herod was not a devout man and did not respect Jesus.  Of note, Herod was the only man whom Jesus did not say anything to.  Herod's household had been exposed to the gospel through his personal steward (Luke 8:3), and Manaen, his foster brother (Acts 13:1).  The gospel as lived by these individuals had little effect upon Herod.  Herod listened to false charges by the religionists.  He had already failed to listen to John the Baptist (Luke 9:7-9), and to the witnesses in his very own household.  He had heard many things of Christ, but refused to listen, to truly hear and heed.  Herod ended up treating Him as unimportant.  The Greek word exouthenesas means to count as nothing, to make nothing of, to think something is unimportant, to count as zero.  Thus, to treat with utter contempt.  Picture the scene.  Herod sat in his fine clothes as the king of Galilee with his men of war while Jesus stood there beaten and battered in torn clothes.  In Herod's judgment, this man was of no consequence, he did not matter.  
       Today many people count Christ as unimportant.  They believe that He does not matter, that He can be excluded from their lives, that He and His claim are meaningless, that He is irrelevant to today's society.  If they happen to read the gospel accounts, their comprehension is blinded by not having the Holy Spirit in them to open their eyes to see the truth.  What they do not comprehend they reject as being meaningless, trivial, and made-up.

    I pray, beloved, that you petition our Lord and Savior to open the eyes of your heart before beginning to read God's Word.  May He usher you into all Truth and you enter into a deeper walk with Him.  Grace and peace be with you.


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    Sat, May 9th - 8:59PM


    "And the men that held Jesus mocked Him, and struck Him.  And when they had blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face, and asked Him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that struck You?  And many other blasphemous things they spoke against Him.  And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led Him into their council, saying, Are You the Christ?  tell us. And He said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe: And if I also ask you, you will not answer Me, nor let Me go.  Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.  Then they all said, Are You then the Son of God?  And He said to them, You say that I am.  And they said, What need do we have of any further witnesses? for we ourselves have heard of His own mouth (22:63-71)." 

       We see in these verses what the world's attitude is toward Jesus' claims of deity.  Organized religion condemned Him and proceeded to condone both physical and verbal abuse.  The world responds to true disciples of Christ with mockery, abuse, and persecution.  In the scriptures we find formal religion and the world opposing Christ.  It is clearly seen in His treatment during the night while He was being held for trial the next day.  There was ridicule of His spiritual power.  If He was the Son of God, then He ought to know all things, so they challenged His power.  "Tell us, who just struck You on the face?"  Christ chose to not give them any answer.  There was all sorts of cursing and blasphemy spoken against Jesus. 

       We need to understand the setting for this "formal" trial of Jesus.  It was by the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews which was composed of both religious and lay leaders.  They "came together."  The picture painted is one of them flocking around Jesus, of being called to accompany one another to their respective seats, ready to attack Jesus.  There is no question of their intent in gathering, they desired to do wicked things to Him.  It was not a genuine trial for they all had already determined to reject and oppose Him.  He was a threat to both their nation and their personal security and positions of influence.  The religionists rejected and opposed Christ for two primary reasons, the exact same two reasons that people reject and oppose Him today.

    1) People are unwilling to deny self, to surrender all they are and have to Christ.  They fear the loss of something--some security, money, job, power, or pleasure.  They love the world and their selves more than they are willing to love God.

    2) People are unwilling to deny their institutional religion: their religious practices that are man-made, man-conceived, and man-honoring. 

       Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and the council did not come right out and accuse Jesus.  They wanted Him to incriminate Himself; so they questioned Him, expecting Him to respond.  But Jesus could not answer directly.  They didn't understand the true Messiahship of God.  It is spiritual and eternal, not physical and material.  Jesus had come to save people spiritually, not materially.  Therefore, if He told them, they would not believe; and if He asked them questions which would lead them to the truth, they would not answer.  But Jesus did not deny His Messiahship.  He left it up to the religious leaders to speak the words. 

       Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man, but this really involved three claims.  First, that He is the Son of Man, second, that He will not remain dead even if they kill Him, and finally, that He will be exalted to sit on the right hand of the power of God.  These claims caused all of the men gathered together to speak at once.  Their question was very pointed, in that it was whether or not He was the Son of God.  Not a Son of God, but the Son of God.  This demonstrates that they all clearly understood Jesus' claims.  They understood but simply rejected those claims.  In Christ accepting and claiming the charge being made against Him He alienated the Sanhedrin.  They had heard enough.  In their obstinate unbelief, they condemned Him to death, condemned the Man who had come to save the world from its terrible plight of sin and death.  They passed judgment upon the Man who brought redemption and love to a world desperate in its need for health and love and for salvation and life.  They determined in their wicked hearts to kill the One who wished to save everyone, to restore their relationship with Almighty God.  Simply because they assumed that they would lose everything materialistically that they held dear if they allowed the people to keep listening to Jesus. 

    These claims of Jesus affect us today.  Do we accept the fact that He has risen from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the power of God?  Do we embrace the ramifications of such acceptance?  Do we understand how we relate to Christ today, if He in truth sits at the right hand of God in heaven?  What place does the Holy Spirit of God occupy in our lives today? 

    I pray that you, beloved, experience the mercy, grace, and love of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 


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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. I ... more

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