Golden Pillar Class Study, teacher Leslie Crain.

Bethlehem was about 10 miles from Jerusalem, Nazareth about 65 miles from Jerusalem, Caesarea Philippi about 105 miles from Jerusalem. When Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went to Jerusalem and Jesus was missing as they journeyed home, it took about a day to go back and look for him. The area Palestine where Jesus lived and worked was about 130 miles wide. God chose that 130 miles to plant the seed for those who would be saved in that time. It doesn’t take a huge outpouring for God’s work to be done. Seed had been planted when Pentecost came and people knew who Jesus and the disciples were. They had seen or heard of the resurrection. The ground was ripe so there was a response when the boldness of speaking the gospel came. Palestine was part of the Roman empire and the emporer was Caesar. Jews did not like the Romans or the Roman rule. Palestine was important because it was between Rome and Syria. The Roman government required that Palestine be peaceful so it didn’t interrupt Rome’s dealings with the other countries. Pontius Pilate was overseer who ruled from 26-36AD in the Palestine area. He  lived in Caesarea (2 day march away) but he ruled from Palestine. His soldiers always came to keep the people under control for large religious feasts. There was a lot of unrest because of the political situation. Pilate delegated his leadership to the high priest Caiaphas. So Caiaphas was leader, both politically and spiritually. The people weren’t looking for someone like Jesus. They didn’t appreciate him as Messiah or lift him up as a person. They were looking for someone who’d free them from the Roman rule. People saw Jesus like a plant in dry ground, not worth anything. They looked away and ignored him but he still bore their grief. Jesus wanted honest souls he could lead in the Father’s ways. He wasn’t interested in the politics of the the day but in the people.

Isaiah 53:1-5 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant…a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

God established all the laws and sacrifices for worship by people in Moses’ day. The daily sacrifice used 730 lambs in one year. They had many laws and rules to follow. Today we have it easy. The Lord just says come unto me and sin no more.

Exodus 29:38-42 Now…thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even…according to the meat offering of the morning, and…drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord. This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.

God wanted the people to meet with him in the morning and at night, to remind them day and night of who he was, to receive benefits and comfort, to make atonement for their sins, and remind them to come to him for help. He wanted love and obedience, for people to walk in his ways and to give him worship with all their heart and soul.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

The Father’s plan was to send Jesus so souls could be saved and brought back into right communion with them. Jesus told the people (Mark 1:15) that the time was fulfilled, to repent, and believe the gospel. Jesus said now was the time. He said if a man loves him that they will keep his commandments. That was the plan from the beginning – for people to honor, respect, and love him. How beautiful the coming of Christ was! The Father was excited that Jesus was come and wanted everyone to know. He filled the sky with angels and started to let everyone know with a handful of shepherds.

Isaiah 52:6-7 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

John the Baptist went before Jesus to prepare the way of the Lord.

Luke 3:4-5 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;

Paul quoted scriptures from Isaiah. If we don’t speak or show what God has done for us, how will anyone know? Faith comes by hearing the word of God and seeing an example of an every day life of being a Christian – living like a child of the King. We don’t need a big fan fare or to put on a big show.

Romans 10:13-17 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

After the resurrection, Jesus spent about 40 days on the earth before he ascended to heaven. He met with the disciples several times. With all he said and did, and how he tried to train and help them, the disciples still didn’t understand a lot. Their first question was to ask if he was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. They saw the good in Jesus and wanted to follow his teachings but they were full of fears. They didn’t know what he meant but they were obedient.

Acts 1:6-11 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem… Judaea, and in Samaria, and…uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things…he was taken up; and a cloud received…they looked stedfastly toward heaven…two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said…why stand ye gazing up into heaven?…Jesus, which is taken…into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go…

Despite their fears and lack of cohesiveness, they obeyed, and stayed together wanting to keep their connection with Jesus.

Acts 1:12-14 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet…a sabbath day’s journey. And…they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs and sheep but he was probably thinking, I’m a fisherman. Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Ghost. Peter received power to preach the gospel when they were filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

When Peter preached his first message, there was good ground to receive the seed – the word of God.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:14-15 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said…Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem…hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Peter spoke to the tax collectors and common people to give them direction for what they should do. It was simple. Basically it was do to others as you would have them do to you. That’s what he wants us to do today.

Acts 2:37-39 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said…Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said…Repent, and be baptized every one…in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you…your children, and to all…as the Lord our God shall call.

When Peter preached, the people were convicted, asked what to do, repented, and were saved.

Acts 2:41-42 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added…about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship…breaking of bread, and in prayers.

When Peter and John went to the temple Peter healed a lame man. They probably went by him other times before but it was different now that they had the Holy Ghost. The lame man saw they were different now and they stopped.

Acts 3:1-8 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer…And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was…laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John…asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed…expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took…lifted him up: and immediately his feet…received strength. And he leaping up…walked, and entered…into the temple, walking…leaping, and praising God.

Not everyone was happy about the lame man being healed but the disciples were determined to please God.

Acts 4:1-4 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came…Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day…Howbeit many…which heard the word believed…of the men…five thousand.

They prayed for boldness to do whatever God’s will was when they were let out of prison and God answered the prayer.

Acts 4:28-29 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.