Archive

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

John Mclean:Pentecost

May 16th, 2018
Comments Off

Greetings from the National Office.

Attached is my letter, “Celebrating Pentecost”, to our members, associates and friends. In this ever-changing world, we are endeavouring to move away from paper and use more electronic means of communication. We need your help in keeping email addresses up to date for this to work well.

Don’t forget to log on to our website at www.gci.org.au.

Happy Pentecost to you all!

Blessings,

John McLean

To view the letter please click Celebrating_Pentecost_2018.

News

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

May 14th, 2018
Comments Off

We are taking a break from the book of John as we prepare for Pentecost.

I want to continue with the question: Where do we see the Spirit in the life of Christ?

As we saw in Luke the Holy Spirit overshadows Mary and she is with child. This tells a Jewish audience steeped in the scriptures, that this One has the Spirit from conception. This one was conceived by the Spirit (whatever that means, a wonder really beyond words), and there’s a deliberate contrast in the Gospels with his cousin John the Baptist.

John was unique. In the womb, he is moved by the Spirit. He leaps for joy by the Spirit. That is utterly unique. Jesus calls him the greatest prophet in Israel – the greatest, and yet he’s not worthy to stoop down and untie the sandals of his cousin Jesus. John in the womb is filled with the Spirit; Jesus is conceived with the Spirit.

But in the Old Testament, who has the Spirit? Prophets, priests, judges, kings (and not even all of them). King David is sort of a pattern. He is anointed with oil, a symbol of the Spirit; the Spirit of the Lord rushes upon him.

Before that the Spirit comes upon even panelbeaters – Bezalel, early on, he’s the one that beats the big bronze shields for the tabernacle The Spirit comes upon him. The Spirit rushes upon these people and sets them apart for ministry, for service, for something which they maybe could have done but not to the degree and not to the extent, not with the quality that God wants. A panelbeater can panelbeat, and not even be a Christian, but to produce stuff which is worthy to be in the tabernacle, you needed God’s Spirit upon you.

What would a Jew of that time hear? The Jews read the conception narrative of Jesus and ask: “Here is one conceived… What is this saying?” It’s saying he is unlike any individual you have ever seen in history before. These allusions, these echoes in the Old Testament: I will give you Spirit-filled people, I will pour my Spirit out upon all flesh… There is one coming, there is the coming one: he is one greater than Moses, he is the greatest prophet, the greatest priest, the greatest king.

But what are we seeing in Jesus? Is he a great prophet? Could be. Will he be a great priest? Could be. Will he be a king? Could be. They are the questions as we go through the narrative. He’s actually all three.

Now lets move to the baptism of Jesus, at the age of 30.

At the age of 30, a Jewish man, if he is so trained and prepared to accept it, enters the priesthood. Here’s Jesus, at the age of 30, entering public ministry.

He goes to John, who says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Mark 1:9-12

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan.

He baptizes Jesus and three things happen:

10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open

In the Old Testament, the heavens opened, you have one of two choices: run for the hills – God is judging, or you fall flat on your face in worship because he is about to bless. The heavens opened,

and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.

Secondly the descent of the Holy Spirit.

11 And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’

Thirdly the divine voice says “This is my beloved Son,”

He already had the Spirit – he was conceived in the Spirit – so why a second pouring out?

Here he’s being set apart as a prophet-priest-king – all three offices in one. He’s being set apart for the ministry of the Messiah, of the Anointed One.

12 At once (or immediately)the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness,

In Mark’s Gospel (short, punchy, immediate – everything is “immediately”), immediately the Spirit ekballo, literally threw Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan 40 days. Desert, wilderness, 40 days. This is, to a Jew, highly symbolic.

This is the Exodus. This is the 40 years in the desert. What did God’s son Israel do in the desert? Disobeyed. They disobeyed.

What’s Jesus going to do? That’s the tension, that’s the narrative. The Spirit pushes him after the baptism into ministry and for 40 days without eating, he defeats Satan. He resists temptation. How?

Luke 4:1,14

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

By the Spirit. He is a man, a God-man, who is so filled of the Spirit of God that he resists the ultimate temptation of the devil.

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

He comes back and in the power of the Spirit. He does his ministry. His ministry is specific: he gives sight to the blind, he heals lepers, he heals paralytics. He’s doing all the things which if we read when we turn to the Old Testament, they say, this is what God will do in the last days.

This is what God will do in the last days through an individual person – a prophet, a priest, a king – through someone special who has the Spirit.

And here is Jesus doing these ministries. The Gospels are telling us, by the Spirit, in the power of the Spirit.

They begin to talk of him as the Messiah.

Messiah, which means “The Anointed One.” Anointed with what? The name “Messiah” is reminding us of the role of the Spirit, the importance of the Spirit. Jesus is saturated (smeared, literal translation of “anointed”)by the Spirit.

If we read any Gospel (it doesn’t matter which one) – and we should read it with the understanding that Jesus is fulfilling prophecy, fulfilling all of Israel’s promises – that there is a coming one.

We could say the old is covenant is the promise and the new covenant is the fulfillment. And God’s faithfulness is the continuity between the two.

Israel couldn’t know of how that all the promises came together until the coming of Christ –

1Peter1:10 -12

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.

12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

As we read what the prophets wrote, we see they didn’t fully understand even what they were writing about. Paul talks about the the mystery(Greek mysterion). Jesus’ coming is the answer to the mystery.

So in history, the Holy Spirit’s role was to make human the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Through the work of the Holy Spirit the Word became flesh. And the disciples could hear him, touch him and see him throughout his life. He was as human as you and I.

Read more…

Message for the Day, News

May Church Matters

May 13th, 2018
Comments Off

The May Church Matters is now available. In this issue we present the theme for the Ulladulla Festival and share a project proposal for Liberia. To view please click ChurchMatters2018-05.

News