A GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WE RECOGNISE AT EASTER

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A BROKEN AND A CONTRITE HEART, O LORD, WILT THOU NOT DESPISE

Sunday 4 April 2010 00:01

• THE TEARS THAT MAY FLOW ON READING CERTAIN PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE

• THE CHRIST-LIKE COMPASSION OF JOSEPH FOR HIS BROTHERS

• AND PETER WENT OUT, AND WEPT BITTERLY

• WHEN HE HAD OPENED THE BOOK, HE FOUND THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS WRITTEN…

• JESUS EXPLAINS WHY HE WAS SENT, AS ISAIAH FORETOLD

• THE MEETING ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

• A BROKEN HEART AND A CONTRITE SPIRIT

THE TEARS THAT MAY FLOW ON READING CERTAIN PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE
There is a gift of the Holy Spirit which manifests itself by tears when certain passages of scripture are read and understood.

THE CHRIST-LIKE COMPASSION OF JOSEPH FOR HIS BROTHERS
Our first knowledge of this occurs in Genesis, Chapters 42-45, relating the story of Joseph – who displays in 1707 BC many Christ-like attributes, especially compassion, righteousness, resolution and fairness – and his brothers.

Jealous of their younger brother Joseph, who had dreamed symbolically that the half-brothers would one day bow down to the earth before him, the half-brothers plotted to kill him, have his ‘prince’s coat of many colours’ made for him by Jacob (because Joseph was a beloved late son of Jacob’s old age), dipped in the blood of a wild beast, and then lie to their father that Joseph had been torn apart by wild animals. On the intervention of Reuben, the eldest, they opted instead to throw Joseph into a pit – from which he was later rescued and taken down to Egypt by a camel train of nomadic Midianites.

In Egypt, following adversity, he correctly interpreted dreams that had troubled Pharaoh, and the King of Egypt accordingly promoted him to the elevated position of Comptroller of the King’s Household – second only in rank to Pharaoh himself.

When famine later devastated the land of Canaan where Jacob and his large extended family now resided, the brothers decided at their father’s request to go down to Egypt to purchase food, and on arrival the sons discovered that they had to deal with the Comptroller of Pharaoh’s Household, whom they did not know was in fact their half-brother Joseph. Understanding all things, Joseph tested the half-brothers (as Christ tests us), asking them to bring his own full brother Benjamin, down to Egypt, ostensibly in order to prove to Joseph that they were not spies.

When the half-brothers realised that they had no choice in the matter… ‘they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother (Joseph), in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear?…. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. And he (Joseph) turned himself about from them, and wept…’ (1)

When in desperation because of the famine they returned to Egypt with Benjamin: …‘They bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. And he [Joseph] lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me?… And Joseph made haste… for he did yearn upon his brother; and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread’ (2) .

Then Joseph sent his brethren away with the corn and the money they had brought to pay for it, and with a silver cup which was placed inside Benjamin’s sack.

But Joseph then sent messengers to overtake them because the silver cup was ‘missing’; and the servants of Joseph discovered the silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. In despair the brothers rent their clothes, and returned to the city, to face their fate, as they imagined, at the hands of Joseph.

On arrival at Joseph’s residence, Judah calmly explained part of the story: ‘My lord asked his servants (the brethren), saying, have ye a father, or a brother?

And we said unto my lord (Joseph), We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one (Benjamin); and his brother (Joseph, as they supposed) is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him’ (3).

And after Judah had explained everything he could, fearing that they would all now be enslaved…

‘Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud; and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. [And after Joseph had revealed himself to them, and had told them how God had turned their evil for good]… he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them; and after that his brethren talked with him’ (4).

AND PETER WENT OUT, AND WEPT BITTERLY
The Passion of our Lord moves many to tears, perhaps beginning with the passage where, after the cock had crowed, as the Lord had told Peter would happen after he had denied the Lord thrice:

‘And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him’ (5).

WHEN HE HAD OPENED THE BOOK, HE FOUND THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS WRITTEN…
And there is the passage when the Lord reads one of the 330+ prophecies from the Old Testament concerning Himself in the synagogue at Nazareth:

‘And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words
which proceeded out of his mouth’ (6).

JESUS EXPLAINS WHY HE WAS SENT, AS ISAIAH FORETOLD
The place in Isaiah that Jesus found and read in the synagogue in Nazareth,
which began at Chapter 61, verse 1, was written in 698 BC:

‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn’ (7).

• To preach the gospel (Good News) to the poor (meek): that is, all who are poor because they have no knowledge of the Truth.

• He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted: that is, all whose hearts are broken because of despair as they do not have the Hope which comes with the knowledge of the Truth (and all those whose hearts are broken due to their human experiences).

• He hath sent me to preach deliverance to the captives: that is, to those who are captive to the Evil One, bound to Satan – showing them the Way Out and how to make Satan flee from them.

• He hath sent me to preach recovering of sight to the blind: that is, to give sight (enlightenment by the Word of Truth) to those who cannot see that they are being misled and are surely destined to fall headlong with their blind leaders into the ditch (8).

• He hath sent me to set at liberty them that are bruised: that is, to free those who have been bruised by the serpent (the Evil One and his deceivers).

THE MEETING ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
And after His resurrection, when the Lord joined two disciples on the road to Emmaus:

‘And behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore (60) furlongs.

And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near and went with them (9).

But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people;

And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this,
today is the third day since these things were done.

Yes, and certain women also of our company made us astonished,
which were early at the sepulchre;

And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

Then said he unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went; and he made
as though he would have gone further.

But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake,
and gave it to them.

And their eyes were opened (10), and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?’ (11).

A BROKEN HEART AND A CONTRITE SPIRIT
Truly, as the Psalmist says:

‘The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all’ (12).

And when we realise that we have wept on reading and understanding the passages of scripture that move us, the following promise is fulfilled:

‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you… But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you’ (13).

And this promise is fulfilled as well:

‘And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ (14), (15).

Notes and References:

(1): Genesis, Chapter 42, verses 21-24.
(2): Genesis, Chapter 44, verses 28-31.
(3): Genesis, Chapter 44, verses 19-20.
(4): Genesis, Chapter 45, verses 1-2, and 14-15
(5): Luke, Chapter 22, verses 61-63.
(6): Luke, Chapter 4, verses 16-22.
(7): Isaiah, Chapter 61, verses 1-2.
(8): ‘Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch’: Matthew, Chapter 15, verse 14; and: ‘And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?’: Luke, Chapter 6, verse 39.
(9): ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’: Matthew, Chapter 18, verse 20.
(10): Immediately ahead of His Passion: ‘And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you’: Luke, Chapter 22, verses 19-20.
(11): Luke, Chapter 24, verses 13-32.
(12): Psalm 34, verses 18-19.
(13): John, Chapter 14, verses 16-17, and 26.
(14): Matthew, Chapter 28, verse 20.
(15): Current controversies concerning the abuse of children – a manifestation of the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, for which the Lord stated that no forgiveness is possible – are seized upon by ‘sons of Belial’, by the ignorant and by those who have no knowledge of scripture, as indicative of the fact that Christianity is false (which is what they want, for their self-interested convenience, to believe). This enticing delusion rests upon a confusion of the Way, the Truth and the Life as proclaimed by Jesus Christ, with the wayward behaviour of elements within corrupted organised religion. The Evil One is having a ball sticking his filthy tongue out at those who have perpetrated blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in this heinous manner. Deplorable though their behaviour is or was, and irreparable though the damage inflicted upon countless lives has been, the faithful are sustained by the parable of the tares [Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 24-30]:

‘Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field;

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then has it tares?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers,

Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them;
but gather the wheat into my barn’.

Now the truly remarkable but little-known fact within this parable is that the Jacobean word ‘tares’ referred to a weed called darnel – which has the characteristic that when sown among the wheat, it resembles wheat initially, for a time. Only when both the wheat and the tares (the darnel) have matured, does the darnel change its appearance so that it can readily be distinguished from the wheat. Such is the depth of the Word of Christ.

• Postscript:
One of our correspondents is a lady based in Washington, D.C., who worked with or was part of the entourage of, President George W. Bush. She writes: ‘Have a blessed Easter. He is Risen, like He said. (I said that to President G.W. Bush a couple years ago at this time of year, and he nodded with a curious look at me, well sort of a scared curious look at me…..).

‘The devils also believe, and tremble’: James, Chapter 2, verse 19.

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