...When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them in to four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. Let's not tear it," they said to each other. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided up my garments among them and cast lots of my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did.
Many events in the life of Jesus had been fulfilled according the Bible: His birth in Bethlehem; His trip to Egypt; moving to Nazareth; His ministry in Galilee; even death in the hands of His enemies to His burial with a wealthy man. It is obvious our God still sits on the throne with His sovereign power; even the hearts of the kings are in God's hand like rivers of waters that turn as He wishes. Just image, for all these happenings to be fulfilled on Jesus Christ according to the Bible, the probability is indeed minuscule! From man's viewpoint, this is purely impossible, but in reality, the prophecies of Isaiah concerning Jesus in the Old Testament were all fulfilled, hallelujah!
Our God is one who has dominion over this universe; He is still the sovereign God in people's hearts. No matter how impossible it may be, all things are possible for our God. Brothers and sisters, we need to have faith in our God! Often times you have been praying for your family for a long time, and you are in despair, but you need to persevere because there is nothing that God cannot accomplish. God can really make all things work together for good for those who love Him. He can restore your family above and beyond your expectation. In times of desperation, do not be despair and loose hope; you need to exalt God again and believe He will perform miracles and great things in your lives! Pray unceasingly, continue to trust God because we know God is still on the throne.
Brothers and sisters, knowing this truth not only comforts us, but it also allows us to work with God continually. Work with God through prayers proclaiming the destruction of the work of our enemies, proclaiming that Jesus Christ is still reigning! May the Lord bestow us with His abundant grace in our lives according to the richness of His glory, hallelujah! Let us trust Him proclaiming our faith and believe in Him!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, we thank you for all things work together for good for those who love God. All your promises are fulfilled in Christ, and in the same way, all the promises in the Bible are fulfilled in our lives as well. With thanks we pray, in the victorious name of Jesus, Amen!
...It was the day of the Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. ....Pilate has a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
When Jesus was nailed on the cross, there was a notice fastened on His cross saying: "The king of the Jews." Earlier in the Scripture, Jesus categorically denied He was the king of the Jews. Pilate asked Him, "Are you the king of the Jews." Jesus responded, "My kingdom is not of this world nor does it belong to this world." Unable to find any sin of Jesus, Pilate finally handed Him to the people to have Him crucified. So Pilate said to them, "Behold, this is your king."
From every perspective, it is quite true that Jesus did not come to be the king of the Jews. But when Pilate asked Jesus," Are you the king? Jesus replied succinctly, " I am born to be the king." Jesus is indeed the king. He is the king who rules over this universe; everything is under His dominion. Our Lord Jesus is sitting on the throne of this universe; this world and everything in it will past away, but our Lord will be on the throne forever.
He is the king of this universe, and also the Lord of all the rulers in this world. In the history of mankind, time and time again the Jews and the church were persecuted by their enemies; many rulers tried to wipeout Christianity. Ironically, rulers have come and gone, yet the gospel of Christianity continues to prosper. Jesus Christ is not only the Lord of the authorities of this world, but also the king of our lives; our lives are in His hands and He is our king and our Lord. In addition, He is also the king of Judgment, the God who exercises righteousness; we will be standing in front of the judgment throne one day facing His judgment.
Surely, Jesus Christ is the king eternally; a king who loves us and also a king who judges us. Let is honor Him with fear and worship Him from the bottom of our hearts; follow His will and footsteps so that we may be pleasing to Him in all our lives.
Pray with Pastor Tong
Dear Lord, we thank you for you are the king of our lives, the king of the universe and you will also be our judge in the future! Let us honor you so that we will be worthy of your name in all the things we do. With thanks we pray, in the victorious name of Jesus, Amen!
....."Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
When Pilate was questioning Jesus, he thought he had the authority to either crucify or release Jesus, but Jesus said there, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." In other words, Jesus knows very well the authority on earth comes from above; even the authority of Pilate and those rulers and powers of the world are from God. Jesus clearly knows, so he also respects the authority on earth.
Similarly, when we live on earth, God teaches we should obey the rulers and powers on earth. Not only to obey them, but also to always pray for them, because of knowing their authorities are from God. We may not agree with the ways of these authorities, but we need to respect these authorities. At the time of President Clinton's scandal, the church prayer team was at the White House to pray for the United States of America. As we stood in the White House, God taught us how to bless President Clinton in prayers. At the time we felt: "How can we bless him?" What he did make us feel so terrible and we also did not vote for him.
My mind struggled mightily: "Lord, why should we bless him?" Then God reminded us, although Saul did not please God, He called Samuel to faithfully pray for Saul. All of a sudden I got it! God teaches us to pray for the rulers and authorities on earth, regardless of whether we vote for him, if we like him or not, regardless of whether we like his doings, since he is the ruler and authority, his authority is from God, we have to bless him, pray for him in the name of the Lord.
Similarly, we have to pray for the Taiwan and China regimes, not because we agree with what they are doing, but because they are in the position of authority that is given by God, for this reason we have to bless them, to pray for them in the name of Jesus Christ, ask God to give them real wisdom, so that they fear God, such that they make God-fearing decisions. Ask God to help us that the example of Jesus Christ will become real of our everyday life.
Pray with Pastor Tong
Dear Lord, we thank you, because you are our examples. We ask you to teach us to respect the rulers and authorities, and to pray for them, such that your righteousness and virtue will work through them. We thank you and pray in the victorious name of Jesus. Amen!
....Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"
When Pilot examined Jesus, he found no basis for a charge against him, he took Jesus to the crowd, and he just said, "Here is the man!" If we really understand this sentence, then He will not be nailed on the cross. "Here is the man!" When you look at the life of Jesus Christ, seeing Jesus the Word became flesh for us, He had God's beauty, then he forsake the treasures in heaven, took up the likeness of body to become man. He was borne in a manger, because the inn had no place for him. The King of kings, the Lord of lords that readily humbled for us, born in a manger, how lowly it is!
"Here is the man!" When you look at the path of the life of Jesus, three decades of silence, experienced so much hardship and suffering in this world. God called Him to preach and cast out demons at the age of thirty, He preached with authority, cast out demons in power, proving He is the Son of God! He performed miracles to set many free from their sins and infirmities, such that people's heart can repent and turn to Jesus Christ. "Here is the man!" Jesus is the sinless Savior, readily died for us on the cross, to bear all of God's punishments against sins on our behalf. He can take the place of people's sin, so that through Him we receive God's grace.
"Here is the man!" The sinless Savior was even humiliated standing before the judgment seat! We cannot help but burst into tears no matter how we think about the life of Jesus! This Savior that so loves us, that bear the greatest humiliation on earth for us, such that our lives can receive all of God's glory, how precious it is! "Here is the man!" When we look at the life of Jesus, come praise our Savior once again, only praise and exalt Him!
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, thank you, because you are such a wonderful Savior that bears all of our suffering and pain, to let us receive the grace in weakness, and be strong. May you inspire us to live for you every day. We give thanks and pray in the victorious name of Jesus. Amen!
"What is truth?" retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him......"
"What is truth?" Pilate asked. Although he asked the right question, unfortunately there was no time to listen to Jesus' answer. Although he found no basis for a charge against Jesus, when the crowd shouted at Pilate, demanded to crucify Jesus on the cross, their voices prevailed! As far as Pilate is concerned, the voice of the crowd replaces the truth. This world is just like that, "the world world thinks this way" often becomes the truth, whoever is loud, whoever that speaks well, then whoever is the truth. These few years, the gay organizations have produced extremely loud noises through their lawyers and news media; such that people think they are the truth. Yet the truth the world speaks is often biased and it will not last.
What is truth? Timothy 3:16 says: "Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great!" That is the absolute truth that refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the Word became flesh, came to the world being made in human likeness, even died on the cross for our sins. Not only appeared in the flesh, He was also vindicated by the Holy Spirit. Roman 1:4 mentioned, Jesus Christ, through the Spirit of holiness, was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead. Jesus Christ not only vindicated by the Holy Spirit, was also seen by angels, and was preached among the nations. The salvation of Jesus Christ is not just among the Jews, God wants all people to be saved, thus it says in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Not just preached among the nations, but was believed on in the world.
In fact, the spirit of God is hovering over the entire world, such that people's heart can repent and turn to Jesus Christ. In these days we hear the news of great harvest in many places. In mainland China, an average of 20,000 people per day believes the Lord; in Africa, South America one can hear that many people turn to God. Once the good news of Jesus Christ is being preached, it will draw the multitude to turn to Him, and then Jesus will be taken in glory. He is the victorious savior, the King of kings, the Lord of lords. He is not just the Lord of the human mind; he is also the Lord of human history, the Lord of all things. The bible says, from everlasting to everlasting he is God; he does not change like shifting shadows. Let us exalt Jesus Christ is Lord, closely follow the truth, live out the truth, let people around to believe Jesus Christ in truth, and receive the life salvation.
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, thank you, because you are the truth, the way and the life. Ask the Lord to let our hearts turn to you, to lift up the truth in life, witness and uphold the truth, and let the truth to set us free, bring us joy and strength! We thank you and pray in the victorious name of Jesus, Amen!
Jesus said,"My kingdomis not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.But now my kingdom is from another place.""You are a king, then!" said Pilate.Jesus answered,"You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
Pilate asked Jesus, "are you the king of the Jews?" Even Pilate mistakenly thought that Jesus Christ was here to rescue the Jews from the rule of the Roman Empire. That was actually the same misconception of the Jews at the time. They thought that Messiah of the Old Testament era was to become king of the earthly regime, therefore they thought Jesus was going to help to save them from the authority of the Roman Empire. Therefore, when Jesus began His ministry, He was popular among the Jews. When they, however, slowly realized that Jesus wasn't going to save them from the Roman regime, they eventually nailed Him to the cross.
Brothers and sisters, we often have the same misconception. We think that Jesus Christ has come to save us from the authority of the world. Indeed, Jesus Christ is here to save us, to set our soul free, but Jesus Christ is not just here to be the king of the world. We often mistakenly think: "How come God doesn't punish those sinners? Why doesn't God just remove the sinful regimes?" Actually, regimes can be removes, but it doesn't mean our souls will be set free. This world is broken and filled with sin not just because of the conditions on the outside. We can change the regime, or in the family we can change the spouse, but no matter what we change we are just bound and hurt in different ways.
Jesus came to the world to solve a fundamental problem of men - sin. Therefore, when Pilate asked Jesus, "are you the king of the Jews," Jesus clearly responded, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." Jesus Christ is here to save human beings from the authority of sin, to deliver us from the bondage of sin. Yes, Jesus the king came to be the master of our soul! Brothers and sisters, are you willing to welcome Jesus to be the master of our soul? Are you willing to follow Him in your daily life and let Him manifest His dominion through you?
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, we thank you because you are here to deliver us and set us free. May you reign in our lives, and let us honor you, follow you and obey you, so that your will may be done. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!
Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself.So they asked him, "You aren't one of his disciples too, are you?"He denied it, saying, "I am not."One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the garden?"Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
Prior to arrest of the Lord, He prophesied that Peter will deny Him three times. Don't you remember how Peter vowed not to fall even if everyone else fell? Not only he said it, he declared it forcefully. That's how Peter was - He was zealous by nature and liked to rely on himself. Peter symbolized our natural life and represented our physical being. When we serve God, we often rely on our own abilities, but now the power of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you and I are not as impulsively zealous as Peter, we might calmly analyze and thinking that's less worldly than being impulsive, but in reality being rational is can be just as worldly. If we try to accomplish the Lord's work with our natural life will ultimately fail completely.
When I served as chairman of a bible study group in Philadelphia, I eagerly wanted to serve the Lord and hoped that the bible study group will blossom. When I saw how the coworkers were busy with studying and often couldn't focus on the ministry, however, I became anxious. I started writing letter to the coworkers weekly; I urge them to love the Lord, but on the other hand I was sort of rebuking them. After a while, I noticed that nothing changed, so I wrote even more frequently. After a while, a close coworker of mine told me: "Tong, to be honest to you, every time we receive your thick and heavy letters, we were fearful to open them, and we just tossed them into the garbage can." At first I was really hurt, but on a second thought I knew that the Lord was teaching me not to reply on my own power to serve, because such ministry will never bring out positive result.
Brothers and sisters, you cannot rely on your personality or skills to be successful in ministry, it must be built upon power of the Holy Spirit. If you reply on personality and rationality to serve, some day you will fail like how Peter failed. May the Spirit pf God help us, enable us to know how to rely on the Spirit of God, and to seek God's will in your daily life and your ministry. May we also have the courage to obey God's Word and follow Him earnestly.
Pray with Pastor Tong
Lord, please help us because we cannot see how blind we are, and it's easy for us to serve by our own might. May you shine your light upon us, let us know how to seek your will only, and rely of power of the Holy Spirit to serve. Thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!