Magazine April 2017


Emphasis: Never Alone -Paul Alberts
Worship: A Pilgrim Through This Lonely World -Sir Edward Denney
Feature: Gods Care For Widows -Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
Feature: Widows -Paul Palmer, Sr.
Uplook: The Seven Sayings Of Jesus On The Cross -Jacob Redekop
Issues: Christian Baptism What Is It? What Is It Not? -Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
YouAsked: Why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him? -Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
Discover: Discover Questions -Alan Groth
Family: Resolving Family Conflicts -Emmanuel V. John
Overview: Haggai -Leslie M. Grant
Series: A Few Thoughts On Prophecy -Alfred Bouter
Response: Responses
GoodNews: The Only Way To Heaven -Fred W. C. Wurst
Full Magazine PDF: Magazine PDF

The Only Way To Heaven

One day you and I will leave this world, and that may be sooner than we think.

Many sincere people think they can get to heaven because of how good they are or the good they do. They may even practice a religion. But these things are not God’s way to heaven.

The way to heaven is Jesus, the One who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6 NKJV).

A single act of disobedience got Adam and Eve thrown out of paradise forever. Likewise, just one sin will forever keep you from entering heaven, unless you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Have you believed in Him with all your heart? If not, why not do so right now? Satan – the enemy who convinced Adam and Eve to sin – says, “Wait a little while.” But God says to you, “Believe Now!”

If I could take you by the hand to the edge of hell to see the eternal condition of the damned, and then take you to the window of heaven to see the eternal bliss of the saved, I am sure you would quickly decide where you would want to go. You wouldn’t rest until you had made sure you were going to heaven.

However, I can’t show you those places. I can only point you to the Lord Jesus Christ who has spoken about them. He suffered, shed His blood and died on the cross at Calvary – under the judgment of God – in order to rescue you from hell and prepare you for heaven. You can read about what He went through for you in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 and John 19.

When Christ was on earth He said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28) and, “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (Jn. 6:37).

The heart of the resurrected Savior longs for sinners to come to Him with all their sins and need. If as a sinner you come to Jesus and believe in Him as your Savior and Lord, you can trust, according to the Word of God, that your sins will be forgiven and you will go to heaven (read Acts 10:43; Jn. 14:1-3).

The way to heaven is Jesus. There is no other way. Receive Christ. Tell Him right now that you believe that He died for you. We can tell you more.


I thank you in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ for sending the June 2016 Grace & Truth Magazine. Other believers and I are growing in faith day by day studying these magazines. Thank you very much to inform us minutely about “The Man Of God.” – India

I am thankful for the past years that you have been sending Grace & Truth Magazine to me. It is very encouraging and a blessing to my heart. – Guyana

A Few Thoughts On Prophecy – Part Four

By Alfred Bouter

“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’” —Matthew 8:17 NKJV

Application Or Fulfillment – An Important Difference
In many prophetic writings the prophets spoke using past tense, speaking of coming events as if they were already accomplished. This emphasized the certainty of those events.

Hebrew grammar is different from English in many ways – its tense is reckoned by the context. For example, if a prophet spoke about a future healing using the past tense it is because the prophet saw himself in the future, and looking back he described how the Messiah suffered and with what results. Consider what was written hundreds of years before Christ died: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:4-5).

With the grammar differences in mind we need to distinguish between the application of a prophecy, as in Matthew 8:17, and its true fulfillment, as found in 1 Peter 2-3. When we don’t follow these scriptural rules we get confused and mix things up. True, Matthew used the word “fulfilled,” but he used at the same time several means to help us differentiate between the various “categories” of Scripture quotations and their fulfillment:

  1. Literal prophecy + literal fulfillment (see the end of Mt. 2:5);
  2. Literal prophecy + typical fulfillment (read Mt. 2:15);
  3. Literal prophecy + application (consider the end of Mt. 2:17);
  4. Literal prophecy + summary of a theme in prophecy (in several Scriptures, such as Mt. 2:23).

Many fail to understand that the full benefits of Christ’s sufferings on the cross and His accomplished work, namely the atonement (category 1), will be experienced by Israel as a nation only after the resurrection and rapture of the believers living in the present day of grace (see Heb. 11:40).

Furthermore, during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus, physical healing was a visual aid, an object lesson, to draw attention to Himself (categories 2-4). Being human, Yeshua (Jesus) feelingly identified with those persons. He wanted the Jewish people to see the implied message concerning who He was and why He had come (see Mt. 9:1-6). The Lord’s comments in Nazareth’s synagogue established the general point that there cannot be any fulfillment of prophecy (Lk. 4:16-21) when it is detached from Him, for He is the Center, Object and Essence of prophecy. Let’s also remember that physical healing, as a sign miracle, is not occurring today (read Heb. 2:3-4), even though healings may occur today by God’s grace (Jas. 5:14-16).

Some Prophecies Fulfilled In Messiah’s 1st & 2nd Coming 
The following list gives further impressions of how it is impossible that all these prophecies would be fulfilled in connection with one and the same Person. Yet, this is what Scripture teaches with respect to the Messiah. The exactness with which many prophecies have been fulfilled in regard to His first coming guarantees that the other prophecies will be fulfilled as well.

Brief Summary Of Fulfilled Prophecies
About Messiah’s First Coming
1. The Messiah Would Be Born In Bethlehem.
2. The Messiah Would Be Born Of A Virgin.
3. The Messiah Would Be A Prophet Like Moses.
4. The Messiah Would Be Tempted By Satan.
5. The Messiah Would Enter Jerusalem Triumphantly.
6. The Messiah Would Be Rejected By His Own People.
7. The Messiah Would Be Betrayed By One Of His Followers.
8. The Messiah Would Be Betrayed For 30 Pieces Of Silver.
9. The Messiah Would Be Tried And Condemned.
10. The Messiah Would Be Silent Before His Accusers.
11. The Messiah Would Be Smitten And Spat Upon. 
12. The Messiah Would Be Mocked And Taunted.
13. The Messiah Would Be Crucified, With Pierced Hands And Feet.
14. The Messiah Would Suffer With Sinners.
15. The Messiah’s Garments Would Be Divided By Casting Lots.
16. The Messiah’s Bones Would Not Be Broken.
17. The Messiah Would Die As A Sin Offering. 
18. The Messiah Would See His Seed. 
19. The Messiah Would Be Buried In A Rich Man’s Tomb. 
20. The Messiah Would Be Raised From The Dead. 
21. The Messiah Would Sit At God’s Right Hand.

Search the Scriptures for these prophecies. Some are clearer than others. Nevertheless, the final verdict is unmistakable. Study the typology of the tabernacle, Moses, Joseph and others. See how many of the Old Testament characters, places and objects were prophetic pictures of Messiah.

“His Own Did Not Receive Him” (Jn. 1:11) 
Even though only a few Old Testament passages foreshadow the rejection of the Messiah, each one reveals important facts about Him. When considered together, they give an overall portrayal of our Messiah’s rejection and the purpose of it.

• Rejection by builders. People in a responsible position are the very ones who refused to accept the Messiah, as seen in Psalm 118. This psalm is a hymn of worship and praise, which was sung while a group of priests approached the Lord’s house in order to offer a sacrifice. The sacrificial system was meaningful because it revealed God’s messianic plan of salvation as illustrated by this psalm. Each part expressed something of the messianic theme as worshipers approached, entered the house of God, offered the sacrifice and thanked God for His mercy. “Save now” (v.25), recorded in the Gospels as “Hosanna,” is a plea to be saved by the Messiah.

In the midst of this praise, Psalm 118 makes a startling declaration: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner” (v.22 KJV). The head stone, or capstone, holds a structure together. Therefore, it is the most crucial part of the building, upon which everything else depends. Yet the psalmist stated that the builders refused this stone. It is common biblical usage for “a stone” to represent the Davidic royal line, and it is a messianic term. Accordingly, this statement indicates that the Messiah was to be rejected by those in a position of responsibility.

Although the builders as a whole rejected the Messiah, anyone who believes in Him will be saved. Isaiah 28:16 explains, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”

• An offence. Unfortunately, prophecy reveals that the longed-for Messiah will be a cause of offence, so some will stumble. Isaiah 8:13-15 shows this dilemma. The Lord of Hosts is to be viewed with reverence (v.13). Yet He will prove to be a stone of stumbling, a rock of offence for both houses of Israel (v.14), that is, Israel and Judah. There will be many who fall in this way (v.15).

• Despised. Scripture indicates that the Messiah would be faced with hideous rejection. “He is despised and rejected of men” (53:3). The “men” spoken of here include the very people who anticipated the coming Messiah. That is why Isaiah, speaking later in this same verse as one of the people of Israel, says that “He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”

By contrast, let us esteem, holding in the highest regard, our precious Savior!


By Leslie M. Grant

“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts.” —Haggai 2:6-7 NKJV

Haggai, meaning “my feasts,” was written after the Jews’ returned to Jerusalem from the captivity in Babylon. The book’s subject is the temple. Having been destroyed, its foundations were built again on a smaller scale. The prophet pressed on the people the shame of their laxity in reference to the house of God and building it. He urged them to consider their ways. A true prophet, he sought to “shake” them from their selfishness – running to their own houses while God’s house was neglected (1:9) – for soon the Lord would shake everything in heaven and earth. “The Desire of All Nations” – Christ, the great Messiah – would come, and through Him God’s house would be filled with glory.

Four distinct messages are given in Haggai. The first comprises chapter 1 and gives solemn reproofs. Thankfully those produced good effects in both leaders and people, in their being stirred to build. The second message (2:1-9) gives refreshing encouragement in its prophetic vision of Christ. The third (vv.10-19) insists on the purity and separation appropriate to God’s house and urges godly consideration. The fourth (vv.20-23) is prophetic of the overthrowing of all oppressing kingdoms. It continues by speaking of the blessing to be established in the person of Jehovah’s Servant, the Messiah, who was typified by Zerubbabel, ruler of Israel.

This book should surely exercise us regarding God’s present-day interests in His “spiritual house,” the Church of the Living God.

Resolving Family Conflicts

By Emmanuel V. John

Having considered various points related to family conflicts, let’s now consider some simple, powerful techniques to aid in resolving them. Using the word “RELATIONSHIP” in an acrostic manner, every letter becomes a tool to work through conflicts. 

RRespect the person, recognize the conflict and draw resources from God.
EEvaluate the situation and establish new principles for marital and family relationships.
LLet go of resentment, initiate love and clarify roles.
AApproach the situation with a positive attitude and be accessible to one another.
TTackle the problems and put on virtues.
IImprove communication skills.
OOvercome criticism and negativism by intellectual and spiritual intervention.
NName the problem and nurture the family relationships.
SStart again to build the relationship.
HHelp each other in a humble manner.
IIntervene early in the conflict to begin positive changes.
PPromote problem solving skills.

Respect The Person, Recognize The Conflict And Draw Resources From God 
It is vital to respect the person with whom one has conflict and to begin where the conflict is in order to recognize and define it. First, one has to be willing to break the denial, which is the biggest roadblock to solving the problem. The vision of those involved in conflicts is often so distorted that they cannot see the destructiveness of their own behavior. Many families have good intentions and want to display love, but when under pressure they deny God and the family relationships. Peter thought he would never deny Christ, but when confronted with a difficult situation he denied the Lord with cursing and swearing. However, with the Lord’s help he recognized and broke the denial, returning to Him (Mt. 26:69-75; Mk. 14:66-72; Lk. 22:54-62).

It is important to recognize the conflicts and break the denial, but often one feels powerless and inadequate to deal with the issues. Thankfully a person can draw added resources from Christ, who is the Competent Counselor for every crisis. “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6 NKJV), and in Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). When conflicts originated in the garden of Eden through Eve’s lack of trust in God, which resulted in her succumbing to the serpent’s lies, she and her husband Adam were in denial: They hid themselves from God. But when God called them, they broke the denial and returned to Him, who lovingly provided the necessary “coats of skins [from a slain animal, picturing the sacrificial death of Christ], and clothed them” so the broken relationship could be restored (Gen. 3:8-21).

As one recognizes the conflicts, he or she should be aware of the consequences if they are left unresolved. Hence, it is needful to personally admit or to lovingly point out the present conflict in the family system to those who are involved so the necessary changes can be made. At the point of awareness and admission of the conflict, one doesn’t need to feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

Preferably, a single issue or causal factor should be dealt with at a time. The one involved should decide to seek additional help as needed and, by faith, develop a closer relationship with God. By respecting the other person or persons, recognizing the problem and deciding to take the necessary actions, the first steps in conflict resolution have been taken. Always remember that God is greater than you and your situations. He loves and cares for you when no one seems to, and is available to you in any place, at any time, for any crisis.

Evaluate The Situation And Establish New Principles For Marital And Family Relationships 
The next step is to evaluate the situation, accumulate information and assess the best approach to resolve the conflict. One should avoid making judgments and conclusions based on assumptions. It is vital to examine how the family dealt with conflicts in the past, whether openly or by covering up and pretending that all was well until there was an “explosion.” Families usually set up their own standards, but these are often faulty and inadequate.

Sometimes families ask for the best reference book for conflict resolution, which also contains guidelines for healthy and happy relationships. The best advice is to use the Master Manual, the Bible. This Book contains all the necessary guidelines and principles for conflict resolution and the maintenance of a happy home, built on the solid foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many verses relating to the family, but at this point let’s simply consider Psalm 127. In this psalm there are four major principles which need to be established in every heart and home.

1. The home is constructed by God. God has a divine plan and He is the Master Builder. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (v.1). This indicates that Jehovah is the source of every blessing, and without Him all of man’s efforts are in vain. The home is built by the Lord, rather than by human wisdom or ingenuity. Hence, the family should constantly seek God’s help in building family relationships with positive verbal reinforcements and love.

2. The home is preserved, or kept, by God. The Lord who builds the home is the One who keeps the home. “Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (v.1). A city is made up of homes, and the home needs protection against various evils, dangers and violence. Thus, the family should seek God’s help in keeping it together.

3. The home should be a place of contentment and rest. Many families suffer loss of relationships because of discontentment centered on materialism. The material gains, prestige, power and popularity from mothers entering the work force along with their husbands is not worth the family loss that results from burning the candle at both ends. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep” (v.2). Many working mothers are overcome with guilt and self-reproach for being at work, but, of course, there are circumstances where mothers have to work to provide the necessities for their families.

After the birth of our daughter, my wife was given four months maternity leave from her job. On resuming work, our daughter was cared for by a baby-sitter who was a friend and committed Christian. However, looking back we realize there is no substitute for a mother caring for her child. When we moved, our daughter, then 11, needed support to help her adjust to her new environment. We agreed that my wife would be available at home for our daughter. So I know what it’s like for both parents to be working and caring for a child. I also know the difference when a mother is at home. The benefits are so great that I now encourage mothers to be at home with their child or children if at all possible.

Materialism is emphasized in our society today. Nothing is wrong with having money, and the lack of it can be a significant inconvenience. But the “love of money” (1 Tim. 3:3, 6:10) and the obsession of having more money is a serious problem. Real contentment is found in knowing God as seen by the fact that “He gives His beloved sleep” (Ps. 127:2). Many families are so worried about what they do not have, that they are not even enjoying what they do have. We are reminded, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).

4. The home is where education begins for the children. Children are blessings, not burdens. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward” (Ps. 127:3). Many mothers have been persuaded that children are barriers to success and career orientation, but God says they are blessings. He pronounces the man who has a quiver full of them as “happy” (v.5).

Children may cause difficulty, diminish income, demand sacrifices and even cause some heartaches, but they are worth it all. Mothers should try to raise their children instead of leaving them to be cared for by others. Children need parental structure and training. “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth” (v.4). An arrow is a pointed weapon which can be directed at a target while still in a person’s hand. We see then that it is vital for children to be trained by their parents so they can be propelled through life with realistic goals and in the right direction.

Thus, it is very important to carefully evaluate the causes for conflicts and examine faulty patterns of dealing with them. Also, there should be an evaluation of the construction (how the people fit together), conservation and contentment of the home, as well as of the children’s respect, responsibility and relationship with the parents. Properly functioning parents can have such a positive modeling effect that the children won’t want to let down the dad and mom who have so carefully and lovingly raised them.

Let Go Of Resentment, Initiate Love And Clarify Roles 
When there have been years of unresolved conflicts, the baggage of anger and resentment can seriously impede progress toward a happy relationship. It is important to let go of the baggage, for then one can proceed on the marital journey.

It is very painful to be rejected by the person one loves. Real, lasting and genuine love is the heart cry of every individual. Love is the lever that lifts the heavy load of guilt and is the key to unlock unresolved conflicts and pent-up feelings of anger, resentment and hurts. If you follow a worldly philosophy regarding relationships, there is still hope for you. Be honest with yourself, your spouse and God. Confess and surrender to God any addiction you may have. You will then experience His love and forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9).

When writing the word “LOVE” in my early school days I had to write a capital “L” by starting from the top and going to the bottom with a straight stroke, then continue across the bottom with another straight stroke. As I recalled this I realized there is a deeper lesson to be learned: For families to experience love, we must all begin at the top with God and allow His divine love to flow down in and through us to others. This can produce a life of victory. When His love flows through us we have life with meaning and purpose. Relationships fail miserably unless divine love is experienced and demonstrated, as this love looks beyond faults and recognizes the needs. “Love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).

“Husbands, love your wives” is the instruction given by the Holy Spirit through Paul in Ephesians 5:25. Many husbands love their wives but have difficulty demonstrating it. Therefore they ask how to love their wives. Meanwhile, many wives ask how should they submit to their husbands. When these questions are unanswered there is role confusion in the family. To provide an answer, I refer to the Master Manual, the Bible, where love-in-action is seen and role clarification is clearly defined. How should husbands love their wives? Consider seven suggestions:

1. Husbands should love their wives for who they are. This means that acceptance is not based on performance. They see the inner beauty of their wives. Christ loves the Church as it is, and He does not abandon it because of its many weaknesses. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it” (v.25). Jesus Christ expressed His love fully.

2. Husbands should love their wives by thinking pleasant thoughts and communicating those thoughts to them. It is healthy for husbands to think pleasant thoughts of God, their wives and themselves. The mind is powerful, and our thoughts influence our actions and reactions to each other. The apostle Paul concluded, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Hence, genuine compliments given to our wives daily will improve the relationship.

3. Husbands should love their wives by embracing them daily. It is a good manifestation of love, an evident display, for husbands to begin the day by holding their wives’ hands and praying together. A goodbye kiss in the morning and a kiss and embrace when returning home will develop intimacy and feelings of belonging, being needed and being loved. Thus when husbands think love, they will verbalize love and embrace their wives in love.

4. Husbands should be willing to make sacrifices for their wives. “Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2). He died for the Church, and husbands need to die to pride and selfish ambition. Some husbands do not verbalize their love for their wives, others verbalize but don’t demonstrate love, and too many take their wives for granted. In Scripture, love is followed by action. For example:

  • “God so loved … that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16),
  • “Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25), and
  • “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

5. Husbands should love their wives in a sincere manner. “Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies” (Eph. 5:28). They should nourish and cherish their wives. Husbands who pay much attention to their own bodies should show the same attention toward their wives. Men value and care for their bodies and likewise should value and care for their wives. Married men should love their wives in such a way as if they are part of themselves – not as a possession. When a man’s body is tired, he rests it; when it is hungry, he feeds it; when it is thirsty, he satisfies it with drink. He should love and care for his wife in the same way and always value her presence. Roger P. Daniel concluded in his biblically based book, Man+Woman: God’s Design, that “in really loving his wife, the husband promotes himself because he and his wife are one flesh – one family unit, glued together … If he hurts her, he hurts himself. A loving husband likely will get love in return.”

6. Husbands should love their wives above all other women or family ties. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (v.31). Our wives should come before our business, our friends and even our own personal pleasures or hobbies. Many marriages without Christ are regarded as 1+1=2, which means that each person has his or her own individual interests and is mainly concerned about his or her own way. But for the Christ-centered marital relationship, the equation reads 1×1=1, meaning the husband and wife are equally important, recognize their differences, but are in unity – yes, “one flesh.”

7. Husbands should love their wives steadfastly. As husbands we should be loyal and faithful to our wives throughout the entire marital relationship. We should be good providers by giving spiritual, economic, social and emotional support to them. “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

There may be differences of opinion and even conflicts at times in marriages, but love for our wives should never be diminished. We should promote her feelings of security, reassurance and love. We must never take our wives for granted or treat them as if they are our employees, property or baby-sitters. Instead, we should continually keep the marriage fresh and vibrant by spending quality time together, praying together and for each other, giving pleasant surprises, going on trips, taking evening walks, giving positive verbal reinforcements and much more. The wise man Solomon concluded, “Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it” (Song 8:7).

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22) is an admonishment from God to the wife. Wives have a responsibility, but this submission does not mean inferiority to her husband. In this context it is simply one who is equally significant, putting herself under another to please the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus submitted to His Father, although He is not inferior to the Father, but equal. “Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Phil. 2:5-6). Jesus Christ declared, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9), and “I and My Father are one” (10:30). Hence, a wife’s submission to her husband does not imply inferiority. Rather, it demonstrates love and reverence to him, even as to the Lord.

The reason for submission is that God has an order for the earthly family. “The husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church” (Eph. 5:23). The divinely-given role of the husband is to be the head of the wife. But this does not mean that the head is superior and that he is to simply give orders or demand submission from his wife. The wife is to submit because she believes it is God’s order and her divinely-given role. True submission does not inhibit liberty, it promotes freedom. When we submit our lives to Christ, He gives us liberty, not bondage. Husbands therefore must provide loving leadership even as Christ displayed love for the Church.*

One of the techniques in conflict resolution is to work through the negative emotions and let go of past painful experiences. This can be accomplished by using unconditional love. To prevent constant friction the husband needs to know how to really love his wife, and the wife needs to know what godly submission to a husband implies. Remember, a body without any head is dead, a body with two heads is confusing, but a body with one head in which the leadership role is rightly executed resolves conflict and maintains a mature marital relationship.

We will continue with our “RELATIONSHIP” points in next month’s article.

Why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him?

Answered by Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.

QUESTION:Why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him?

“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me [Touch Me not – KJV], for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”’”—John 20:17NKJV

ANSWER: Mary Magdalene had lingered near the tomb of the Lord Jesus that resurrection morning, weeping after the other women and Peter and John had left. She loved the Lord Jesus. He had previously cast out seven demons from her. Deeply grateful, she was one of the women who had ministered to Him of their substance during the time of His ministry on earth (Lk. 8:1-3). When she recognized that the One she had through her tears mistaken for the gardener was Jesus, according to John 20:16, “she turned and said to Him, ‘Rabboni!’ (which is to say, Teacher).” In her joy she would gladly have resumed the relationship which she had had with Him before His crucifixion.

But this could not be. Although Jesus was standing there alive, He would not again be walking about from place to place doing good, teaching, healing and feeding crowds that would throng around Him. That work He had finished. He was soon going to ascend to the Father, to the One who had sent Him into this world and whose will He had done at all times while here on earth.

He then gave Mary a wonderful task. “Go to My brethren!” Never before had he called His disciples “My brethren.” A few nights earlier He had called them “My friends,” but now He was referring to them in this even more intimate way. She was to be His messenger to bring them a very special message. “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.” His brethren would now enjoy a blessed personal relationship with God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice He did not say, “I am ascending to our Father and our God.” While He was elevating the disciples, and us who are their successors, to this wonderful relationship with God, a relationship of sons to a Father, it is only He who has ever enjoyed that relationship in a unique way. He alone is the Only-begotten Son. He is the only One of His kind. He is matchless. He is God the Son! We are creatures. But He has most highly privileged us by bringing us into a place of sonship where we can cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). While we can call God “Father,” Scripture never gives us liberty to call Jesus, “Brother,” or “Elder Brother.” He has lifted us up to a position corresponding to His position. Let us never lower Him to our level from His unique position. That would be a lack of proper respect altogether.

“Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her” (Jn. 20:18). She was privileged thus to serve the Lord, a privilege greater than touching or clinging to Him now that He was risen from the dead. A new era was beginning in the ways of God with man.

Jesus met Mary Magdalene in her sorrow, dried her tears, and sent her to the disciples with a message of His resurrection. But He did not permit her to touch Him. In Matthew 28:9 the other women held Him by the feet. Why the difference? The reason appears to be that in the earlier gospel it is the pledge of a bodily presence for the Jews in the latter day; for whatever the consequences of Jewish unbelief now, God is faithful. The gospel of John has no purpose here of showing God’s promises for the Jew. On the contrary, it diligently detaches the disciples from Jewish thoughts. Mary Magdalene is a sample or type of this. The heart must be taken off His bodily presence. “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (Jn. 20:17 KJV). The Christian owns Christ in heaven. As the apostle says, even if we had known Christ after the flesh, “henceforth know we him no more” (2 Cor. 5:16). The cross, as we know it, closes all connection with even Him in this world,although it is the same Christ. John shows us, in Mary Magdalene contrasted with the women of Galilee, the difference between the Christian and the Jew. It is not outward presence on earth, but a greater nearness because of the power of the Holy Spirit.

— William Kelly, The Gospel Of John

Christian Baptism What Is It? What Is It Not?

By Eugene P. Vedder, Jr

Christian baptism is an ordinance, or rite, unique to Christianity. There was no Christian baptism before the Church (the Assembly) began, which was on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and ten days after His bodily ascension into heaven. We find the account of this in Acts 2. On the morning of Pentecost, in answer to the promise of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon His 120 followers, who were waiting as He had instructed them in the upper room. These 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized into one body by Him, and in this way the Church was formed. This was a unique one-time event referred to as the baptism of the Spirit, and every believer in the Lord Jesus comes into the good of it when he is saved. However, this is not water baptism, which we commonly refer to as baptism when we speak of being baptized.

A crowd of Jews and proselytes (converts to Judaism) from many nations gathered, drawn by this marvelous phenomenon. In response, Peter preached to them, explaining how this event was something the prophet Joel had spoken of long before. He went on to speak of how God had raised and exalted the Lord Jesus, whom they had rejected and crucified a few weeks earlier. In effect, God had reversed the decision they had made about Jesus.

Peter’s message cut members of this crowd to the heart, and they asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” He told them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (vv.37-38 NKJV). Remember, weeks earlier a vast crowd of Jews urged on by their leaders had demanded that Jesus be crucified. These Jews who had come together now needed to repent of that behavior and take a public stand with God on the side of the Lord Jesus against that decision and the “perverse generation” who had made it. Three thousand individuals acted accordingly, repenting and being baptized. They thus publicly severed their former ties with what their nation did and took their stand with Jesus. On this wonderful day the Church grew from 120 individuals to 3,120.

Some years earlier many Jews who had been stirred by the preaching of John the Baptist had openly declared their repentance by being baptized – a symbolic washing and cleansing. This was not Christian baptism either, for Christianity did not exist before the death, resurrection, ascension and exaltation of the Lord Jesus. The doctrinal significance of Christian baptism is given to us in Romans 6:3-5. In baptism someone who has received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is identified with Him and His death for us. Being immersed in the water (the scriptural way to perform baptism) is a going into “the likeness of His death.” In effect, the one baptized acknowledges that he, the sinner, deserved to die. In figure he puts himself in the place of death, where Christ actually went, thereby confessing his faith in Christ’s death for his sins. Coming up out of the water is a picture of resurrection, in which the one baptized symbolically says that he has become a new creation in Christ. His old life is past and he wants to walk in newness of life.

Baptism does not save a person. It does not wash away his sins or impart new life to him. Rather, it symbolizes that the person being baptized is identifying with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. He wants to live a new life, pleasing to God. He wants now to live in newness of life – no longer as a slave to sin, but as one alive from the dead. According to 1 Peter 3:21, baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God; it is not the removal of the filth of the flesh. Galatians 3:27 says that “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

In Scripture we invariably find that baptism follows salvation. Acts 18:8 clearly states that “many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized.” Before leaving them, the Lord Jesus in Mark 16:15-16 told His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” In Matthew 28:18-20 this command of the Lord, who could say, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and in earth,” is given as a threefold command:

  1. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”;
  2. “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”; and
  3. “Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”

The Lord goes on to encourage His disciples – and us, too – by saying, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

We see in these verses that the Lord gives those who preach the gospel the responsibility for baptizing those who believe on Him through their preaching. In the New Testament we never find a long interval of time between when a person accepted Christ as Savior and Lord and when he was baptized. We’ve noted Peter’s command to the 3,000 who believed to repent and be baptized. Saul of Tarsus (later named Paul) similarly was told by Ananias to arise and be baptized (Acts 22:16). Like the 3,000 Jews at Pentecost, he had been publicly against the Lord Jesus, persecuting His Church. But now Saul was to openly switch sides, as it were. The Lord had already seen and recognized his faith, but his sin was to be dealt with publicly in baptism.

Peter in Acts 10:48 commanded that Cornelius and those with him should be baptized. He had just witnessed the Holy Spirit being poured out upon them as they sat and heard the preaching of the gospel – clear, God-given evidence that these Gentiles had believed the Word and thus had been saved. We do not read that Peter personally performed the baptism, but he insisted that it be done. Paul likewise did not usually baptize those who believed through his preaching, lest this would be misunderstood. Others of the team that accompanied him could doubtless show their fellowship in the gospel endeavor by carrying out the physical act of baptizing.

We have seen that the Lord wanted His own to teach those who were saved and baptized to observe all that He had commanded them. This should not be neglected. No long course of teaching is required before a person is baptized. Indeed, we see in the New Testament people baptized very quickly upon their salvation. We even see in Acts 8 in the case of Simon the sorcerer that this man was baptized upon what was later shown to have been merely an outward profession and not reality of heart.

Baptism should be the outward accompaniment of salvation. Numerous passages of Scripture show us that faith, not baptism, is the means by which one is saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes plain that faith is not of ourselves, not something we can take credit for, but it is given by God’s grace. Therefore we cannot boast of our faith. Sadly, baptism is an outward act that is many times applied erroneously or even deceptively.

Not a single clear case is given us in Scripture in which unsaved people were deliberately baptized. Yet this is often done today in many so-called “Christian” churches, usually because the significance of baptism is not properly understood. Many people view baptism as a means of salvation or as a way to become a member of a church rather than as a vital accompaniment to salvation. They think that the Lord meant baptism when He spoke of being born of water and of the Spirit. Water in the Bible is often used as a picture of the Word of God. This misinterpretation of Scripture would mix baptism, which is a human work, and the activity of the Spirit of God. This is absolutely wrong, for salvation is by faith in Christ rather than by works of righteousness which we have done.

There are numerous variations of the erroneous belief that baptism is a means of salvation. In many churches babies are baptized soon after they are born. These churches seek to make them Christians and thus assure them entry into heaven. The true gospel is hardly taught in a church that advocates such false teaching; nor can a child be saved by the faith of its parents or of any other “sponsor.” It is most important to acquaint children with the Lord Jesus, who wants to be their loving Savior, for salvation is not accomplished by a mechanical or physical process such as baptism. As long as a child does not have understanding to accept or to reject the Lord Jesus, should he die he is covered by the value of Christ’s glorious sacrificial work accomplished on Calvary. A child is a sinner by birth and this soon becomes evident in his actions. When he is able to understand – and we cannot set a definite age for when this is – that he is a sinner and that Christ died for him, then by all means bring the gospel before him in simplicity and clarity! The person who rejects God’s loving offer of salvation is lost, whether he has been baptized or not.

There are Christian parents who dedicate their children, wanting to put them “on Christian ground.” In doing this they publicly affirm that they intend to bring up their children for the Lord. There is no doubt that they mean well. Such parents often try thereby to draw parallels with circumcision in the Old Testament, basing their practice on passages of Scripture that refer to the baptism of households. A household in the biblical sense, however, is not the same as a family. God distinguishes between Abraham’s children and his household in Genesis 18:19. A household is a broader term in Scripture, for it included the slaves or servants. The references in Scripture to a household being baptized never indicate the ages of any children in the household or even that there were children in the household.

The jailor at Philippi in Acts 16 was converted after midnight and “rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” Lydia’s household is referred to in verse 40 of that same chapter as “the brethren.” Paul exhorts the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 16:15-16 to submit to the household of Stephanas, for “they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” In 1 Corinthians 1:16, he mentions having personally baptized this household. Every indication in the New Testament of the baptism of a household indicates a one-time action. Romans 16:11 mentions a household of which not all the members were “in the Lord.” Nowhere do we find a record of an infant born to Christian parents after their own baptism being baptized by itself as a distinct event.

The words “Do you not know” in Romans 6:3 would also indicate that the person being baptized should have at least a basic understanding of what baptism signifies. God sees the heart of a person when that person believes, but man recognizes a person as a believer when that person is baptized. This is especially true of Muslims and Orthodox Jews, who often seem to know more about the meaning of baptism than many Christians do. When he professes to be saved, they still hold out hope for someone who leaves their religion to return, but they regard him as dead once he gets baptized.

Friend, if you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, please come to Him today! He loves you so much that He died for you on the cross at Calvary nearly 2,000 years ago. If you have put your trust in Him as Savior, have you confessed this publicly before the world in baptism? If not, why not? This is a step of obedience He expects you to take once you have received salvation by His grace. Baptism openly shows you to be on His side in a world that still rejects Him – “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). May God bless you as you then seek to walk in newness of life!

The Seven Sayings Of Jesus On The Cross

By Jacob Redekop

The four Gospels record the seven sayings of the Lord Jesus on the cross. Three utterances took place in the early hours of His crucifixion and four in the later hours. In this meditation, the seven sayings are not placed in a specific order. Each gospel records those sayings that are in keeping with the theme of that particular gospel. Only His cry of being forsaken is recorded in two gospels, Matthew and Mark, and that is where we begin.

1. “At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” —Mark 15:34 NKJV

Jesus had already been falsely accused by the chief priests and elders and taken to stand trial before Annas and then Caiaphas, the high priest (Jn. 18:13). Afterwards, He was taken to Pilate, to Herod and back to Pilate. The Roman soldiers had brutally beat Jesus, pulled the hair from His cheeks and mocked Him. The prophet Isaiah spoke of this One saying, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth” (Isa. 53:7). Jesus Christ, bearing His cross and wearing a crown of thorns, with His back ripped open and bleeding, was led away to Calvary to be crucified.

We stand in awe as we consider the Lord of Glory hanging on the accursed tree. We should have been there, and we would have been had His wondrous love not caused Him to take our place as the blessed Substitute. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Christ Himself gave the answer to this question: “Why have You forsaken Me?” The Lord Jesus was forsaken by God so we would never be forsaken. Instead, we now know and enjoy the love of God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ – God’s gift to us. It was love unbounded, full and free. Paul’s prayer expresses this in Ephesians 3:17-19: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

What was it blessed God, led Thee to give Thy Son,To yield Thy well-beloved for us by sin undone?
‘Twas love unbounded led Thee thusTo give Thy well-beloved for us.
—Ann Taylor (1782-1866)

2. “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” —Luke 23:34

Willful, sinful, callused hands nailed the Son of God to that Roman cross. The soldiers stripped Jesus and then placed His body on that cross. They nailed His feet to the beam of wood and His hands to the cross piece. Think of the physical pain and agony when they lifted the cross and dropped it into the hole that had been dug in the ground. The soldiers then sat down and watched Him.

Jesus’ own people, the Jews, taunted Him, saying, “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ’I am the Son of God’” (Mt. 27:43). Psalm 22 gives us this prophetic picture: They surrounded Him with their gaping mouths, circling around like a raging and roaring lion – a picture of Satan – ready to devour. Dogs, picturing the Gentiles, also surrounded Him; and there was none to help.

He could have called ten thousand angels, but He would not. Rather than seeking help to be delivered from His adversaries, He prayed for His enemies, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Unless He endured the cross, despising the shame, Jesus knew that no one could be forgiven. Justice must be satisfied. Satan, the deceiver, must be defeated, and the sinner must be reconciled.

3. “Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” —Luke 23:43

Jesus, the sinless Son of Man, was hanging on the cross between two guilty criminals, and those who passed by wagged their heads and said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Mt. 27:42). This reminds us of the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow” (Lam. 1:12).

No doubt the two thieves had heard Jesus praying these words, “Father, forgive them.” They had also witnessed His silent suffering on the middle cross. One of the criminals then turned in faith to the Savior, acknowledging his guilt and claiming the message of forgiveness. He said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). Immediately the Lord gave the assurance that on that very day he would be with Him in Paradise. What joy must have flooded the heart of this man who had become a “new” creation in Christ Jesus! We are not told his name; indeed, he represents all who believe. One moment he had feared eternal separation from God, and the next moment he had received the promise to be with the Savior “today.”

Then this new-born man, no longer condemned to the lake of fire, became a gospel preacher to the other thief crucified there. The story of this believing thief still preaches to all who hear this message. Dear friend, have you come to the Savior? He has promised eternal life to all who seek Him. Come just as you are and just where you are. Come right now to the Savior for you may have no tomorrow!

4. “When Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit’” —Luke 23: 46

The very first words of Jesus are recorded in Luke’s gospel, after He was found in the temple and said to His mother, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (2:49). Luke also recorded these words of Jesus, as with a loud voice He cried, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Jesus had been about His Father’s business from first to last. He went about doing good, healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind and seeking the Father’s will in every situation. Just before going to the cross, Jesus had entered the garden of Gethsemane and, being in agony of soul, He said, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (22:42). In perfect obedience He submitted to the will of the Father. With all our hearts we agree with the centurion who saw what happened on that cross and glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” (23:47).

5. “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” —John 19:26-27

Only the gospel of John mentions this scene that included himself and the mother of Jesus. While hanging on the cross, Jesus saw Mary and John, the disciple whom He loved, standing nearby. Love had drawn them there while others had fled. What thoughts of sorrow must have filled their hearts as they watched Him hanging there. Jesus, not thinking of Himself or His sufferings, saw His mother and with a caring heart said, “Woman, behold your son!” To the disciple John He said, “Behold your mother!”

In His darkest hour Jesus cared for a mother’s sorrowing heart and spoke words of comfort to her, providing for her emotional and physical needs. Perhaps there is someone reading this who is passing through sorrow and grief and who feels very much alone. Maybe a loved one has been taken and there is no one to give help and comfort. Remember this: Jesus cares for you – for your physical and your spiritual needs. The love that moved Him to go to the cross for you is filled with compassion and ready to meet every need.

6. “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst.’” —John 19:28

After hanging on the cross for the first three hours, the Lord Jesus spoke of His physical sufferings for the first time when He cried out, “I thirst.” Here again we recall the prophetic words of Psalm 22: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd [a broken piece of earthenware], and My tongue clings to My jaws” (v.15). No angel came to strengthen Him. There was none to show compassion at the time of His deepest need. All that men had to offer Him was sour vinegar to drink.

That cry, “I thirst,” had a much deeper meaning, for He came to suffer on the cross in love for you and me. His thirst for our salvation led Him to give Himself for us as “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:2). His was a voluntary sacrifice, for He said, “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment I have received from My Father” (Jn. 10:17-18).

This Jesus is the same One who sat by Sychar’s well, weary from His journey, and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. He then offered her living water to quench her spiritual thirst. She drank of that life-giving water and went away satisfied, for she had found the Christ. The Lord was refreshed and satisfied too because He delights to serve a needy soul. Are you willing to come to Him and let Him satisfy your needs and longings?

7. “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” —John 19:30

“It is finished!” These last words spoken by Jesus on the cross are far-reaching and very rich in meaning. All the types and shadows and all the sacrifices pointing to the cross were now fulfilled. Nothing more could or needed to be added to make it more complete. “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified … Then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’” (Heb. 10:14,17).

The way into the most holy place is now opened for us, and with boldness, or holy liberty, we can enter by faith into the very presence of God. This holy privilege is for us to enjoy – even speaking to Him as a child to a loving Father. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water … Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (vv.22,24-25). This is our privilege at the present time, but there is much more to come in “the day” that is fast approaching.

Time and again the Spirit points us to the Lamb of God who, by shedding His precious blood, has paved the way for future blessings which are to be revealed when He comes to establish His kingdom. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him at the Jordan River, he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29). This verse encompasses the purposes of God for the ages to come, culminating in the day of God when “we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13).


By Paul Palmer Sr.

I am impressed with many precious things while reading the Scriptures, not the least of which is the Lord’s care for widows. Before his departure to be with Christ, a brother told his wife, “The Lord will take care of you.” He left her in the competent care of the One who loved her and gave Himself for her (Gal. 2:20).

Both of my grandmothers as well as my mother were widows. I have seen firsthand the Lord’s special grace given, causing them to be blessings to others. The Lord is “a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Ps. 68:5 NKJV). “He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow” (Dt. 10:18).

Dear Christian widow, the Lord is on your side and He will never leave you nor forsake you. Remember the words of Romans 8:31, given by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul: “If God be for [you], who can be against [you]?”

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly FriendThrough thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
—Kathrina von Schlegel (1697-1797)

The Lord Provides 
“Widow” is mentioned four times in Deuteronomy 24. The number four speaks of that which is worldwide or universal. Wherever we go in the world we will find widows, and wherever they are the Lord will provide for them.

Their basic needs are food and clothing. “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord may bless you … When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again … When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for … the widow” (Dt. 24:19-21). “You shall not … take a widow’s garment as a pledge” (v.17). The Lord secures the food supply and the clothing for the widows. “Having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim. 6:8).

A Widow Of Zarephath 
The Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath. He said, “I have commanded a widow there to provide for you” (1 Ki. 17:9). On arriving at the gate of the city, he saw the widow gathering sticks to make one last meal for her son and herself, before they would die. Elijah asked her for two things, a little water and a morsel of bread. She told him her plight, and he replied, “Do not fear … make me … first.”

Dear Christian widow, do not fear. “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn. 14:27). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). The Lord Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn. 14:1). Make the Lord Jesus first in all things; give Him the first place that “in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18).

This widow of Zarephath “went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah” (1 Ki. 17:15-16). The flour speaks of the Lord Jesus and the oil of the Holy Spirit. Divine persons remain the same; they do not change. The Lord Jesus will ever be faithful. He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The Lord Jesus cannot fail; He never fails.

Because of her obedience and faith in the word of the Lord, she experienced His gracious provision for her and her household. The flour and the oil remained the same, though she used these ingredients daily to sustain them. The Lord is still using faithful widows today in many ways to encourage His people.

The time came when the widow’s son died. She was then without husband and son. How sad it must have been for her. But as a result of her son’s death she was to witness a great miracle: He would be brought back to life. Elijah the man of God prayed that the “‘child’s soul come back to him.’ Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived” (1 Ki. 17:21-22). “I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy” (Job 29:13) we believe was the widow of Zarephath’s experience – her sorrow was turned to joy.

A Few Other Examples 
The Lord wants widows who know Him to trust Him daily for their needs. “Let your widows trust in Me” (Jer. 49:11). The apostle Paul said, “My God shall abundantly supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19 JND).

The widow Naomi experienced the kindness of the Lord through Boaz. “Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!’” (Ruth 2:20 NKJV).

Anna was a widow who “served God with fastings and prayers night and day … she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Lk. 2:37-38).

A sister in Christ, a widow, told me recently that her cup was full, “overflowing into the saucer.” This dear lady has been an encouragement to many as undoubtedly Anna was too.

Instructions For Others 
Let us pray for our widows, encouraging and assisting them in whichever way possible. Honor them as we are told to do – “Honor widows who are really widows” (1 Tim. 5:3). “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (Jas. 1:27).