Jehovah-Jireh (The LORD Provides in His Provision)


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Jehovah signifies the covenant name God revealed to the people of Israel. When Moses asked God who sent him, He replied, “Thou shalt say to the people of Israel, Jehovah sent me unto you; this is My name forever” (Exod 3:15 KJV). The name makes known the Coming One and His action of redemption for the Israelites. The Messiah will come for the final crushing of the serpent’s head and provide salvation for His people (Gen 3:15).

Jehovah’s name remains immutable. “I am Jehovah, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6.) When coupled with another descriptor in a compound name, it explains other roles and natures of who He is and what He will do. The incarnate God in Jesus continues in these roles to supply all our needs “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). This writing explores the first expression of His redemptive title and nature, Jehovah-jireh. Barry Liesch in People in the Presence of God said, “God by His very character, loves to bless His people” (1988, p. 22). The incarnate God in Jesus’ divine and human character blesses His people as Jehovah-jireh illustrating its fullness by four redemptive provisions[1] and three redemptive roles.[2]      

Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice. Etching and drypoint on paper, 1655. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

(Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice, 1655) 

Four Provisions of Jehovah-jireh     

Jehovah-jireh means the LORD that provides (Gen 22:14; cf. John 1:29; Heb 11:17-19). The Lord revealed His first redemptive name in a place up yonder on Mt. Moriah (Gen 22) when He tested and proved Abraham’s faith with the command to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering. Upon examination of Gen 22, Scripture uncovers four aspects of Jehovah-jireh’s provision:

  1. Blessings from one’s faithful response to testing (22:1-2; 16-18) 
  2. Opportunity to worship through sacrifice (vv. 5-10)
  3. God’s presence during tests (vv. 11-13)
  4. Promise of redemption through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18)

Provision 1: Blessing From One’s Faithful Response to Testing (22:1-2; 16-18) 

Jesus embodies the one, true God with the character, quality, and personality of the express image of God’s own substance (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15; 1 Tim 3:16; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:3; and 2 Pet 1:1). All the names and titles of the Deity apply to Jesus including Jehovah-jireh. Thus, Jehovah first revealed His unchangeable nature as Jehovah-jireh at a place called yonder or Jehovahjireh (Gen 22:13-14) with the provision of a blessing:

And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice (22:16-18).

Testing means temptation. Before the provisions of covenant, God tested Abraham’s faith on Mt. Moriah by asking him to sacrifice his son, his only son Isaac, “whom though lovest” (21:5; 22:2). He tempted Abraham to act in faithful obedience. Faith appropriates His provisions as Jehovah-jireh. God already had pre-established with Abraham that through Isaac He would establish His covenant “for an everlasting covenant and his seed after him” (17:19). God identified Isaac by name as the legal heir to the promise years prior to Mt. Moriah.

The promise of Isaac as the legal seed to the inheritance required Abraham to stand in faith on what God ordained. James 2:14-26 teaches faith comes alive with active obedience by response, commitment, and action (Bernard, Message of Romans, 2010). Abraham responded yielded to God’s command without objection or hesitation. One does not read of Abraham negotiating otherwise with the Lord, rather Scripture tells he rose early the following morning to take the three-day journey to Moriah. He showed commitment by ascending the mountain with Isaac carrying wood, fire, and knife. Abraham’s action of declaration to his son Isaac that God will provide a lamb for a burnt offering displayed steadfast faith (22:7). 

By Abraham’s obedience to heed the Lord’s command, Jehovah supplied a ram to sacrifice instead of Isaac to insure the future seed for provisions of the messianic promise “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen 22:13, 18; Heb 11:17). Because of Abraham’s obedience, God would fulfill the everlasting covenant through the sacrificial Lamb of God (Gen 17:7; John 1:29). Abraham’s obedience by faith provided not only for him in the immediate context, but also to generations to come. As the father of those who walk in the righteousness of faith, Abraham exemplifies provisions coming from God’s grace (Rom 4:1-16).

Provision 2: Worship Through Sacrifice (vv. 5-10)

In the Old Testament, the Israelites considered rendering sacrificial offerings as a means to worship their God (Kurtz, 2004). A true sacrifice for worship must be what God wants and by faith. The Lord respected Abel’s offering of the firstborn of his flock by faith because he followed5 according the instructions; however, God rejected Cain’s of the fruit from the ground since he gave what he desired (Gen 4:3-5). One presented acceptable worship and the other unacceptable. 

The first mention of worship in connection with worship occurred with Abraham (Gen 22:4), back dropping the essence of Jehovah-jireh in covenant. Abraham presented a blood sacrifice of his own son acting out his faith and obedience. God stated the test in emotional descriptors depicting Isaac as if to emphasize the gravity and magnitude of the command: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” (22:2a). Worship requires complete reliance on God when releasing sacrifice in worship. On the third day of their journey, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place yonder of which the Lord would tell him. He went up yonder with Isaac who carried his own wood of the burnt offering for sacrifice. Abraham then drew near to Yahweh’s presence standing on the everlasting covenant between God, himself, and his seed through worship. When Abraham bound Isaac covenant on the firewood and raised the sacrificial knife, the father of many nations demonstrated the full reliance and uncompromising trust in relationship Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, to whom he relinquished his son, the heir to the covenantal promise.  

Worship gives God glory, fueled by faith. Generations gain understanding of God’s desire for true sacrificial worship in Abraham offering Isaac; and at the same time, see Abraham “against hope believed in hope in an unchanging God (Rom 4:18a). Abraham “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform” (4:20-21). God honors true sacrifice in worship with His provisions.

Provision 3: God’s Presence During Trials (vv. 11-13)

             Just as Abraham readied to slay his beloved son Issac with hand outstretched (22:10, a voice from heaven identified as the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham:

Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me (Gen 22:11b-12).

The angel of the Lord commanded Abraham to release Isaac, render another sacrifice, and promised his descendants will be “numerous as the stars of heaven” (22:22b). Biblical interpreters vary as to whether the angel of the Lord juxtaposed as Yahweh with the two names interchangeable or the term exclusively refers to the angel of the Lord as His messenger. Internal) textual evidence of the Gen 22:11-12 (cf. 15-18) narrative suggests the former. The speaker called Abraham by name with divine authority in the first person. He ordered two commands and made a promise to Abraham. Most notably, the angel of Yahweh talked to Abraham as the Lord Himself (22:12, 17-18). The manner and content in which He spoke suggests a theophany, a manifestation of God. 

Consequently, God did not leave Abraham during the testing, rather walked alongside him and then honored his yielding to Him. As a result, the covenant-keeping God not only supplied a substitutionary blood sacrifice with a ram in the bush, but also reiterated the regeneration of the Abramaic lineage through the fulfillment of the Seed Messiah. In the midst of a dark trial, Yahweh confirmed the promised Light—the sacrificial Lamb who would redeem Israel. 

Provision 4: Redemption Through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18)

Abraham’s story teaches that God’s blessings come by faith, not works. Faith saved Abraham. Without faith, Abraham would not have realized the promised seed. 

Three Redemptive Roles of Jehovah-jireh

Jesus is Jehovah Jireh, the place called yonder, for “On the mountain of the Lord it will be seen and provided” (Gen 22:14b AMP). Some archeological evidence suggests Golgotha as one of the hills on Mt. Moriah. God clothed in flesh sacrificed His only Begotten Son as the sacrificial sin offering for humankind on the hill of Golgotha at Calvary. Thus, this same name Jehovah-jireh embodies God incarnated in Jesus to complete the fullness of this title with three redemptive roles fulfilled as the son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah (Matt 1:1; Luke 19:9; John 8:58; Rom 9-11; Gal 3:16; Heb 11:8); Only Begotten Son, Word made flesh; and Son of God, Servant Son.

Jehovah-Jireh: Son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah

Jesus fulfilled Yahweh’s child of promise, as the ultimate substitutionary sacrifice who would atone for the sins of humanity. Jehovah-jireh, revealed Himself as the Saving Seed to both Jews and Gentiles, found in the Son of Abraham in the Matthean genealogy (Matt 1:1). The evangelist Matthew showed Abraham’s seed as the Lord God of Israel in flesh (Cox, Reader, p. 13; Matt 1:22-23). 

Abraham fathered Ishmael by Hagar a slave women, and Isaac through Sarah a free woman. Isaac exclusively holds the claim of Abraham’s son of promise and legal heir. Therefore, Isaac typed Jesus, who fulfilled the Saving Seed called the Messiah (Matt 1:16). God required only Abraham and Isaac to go up to the place called yonder where they would receive the provision, which the Lord revealed as Jehovahjireh. Jesus descended 42 generations after Abraham (Matt 1: 1-13) through Isaac the son of promise to fulfill the ultimate provision with the sin sacrifice as the Son of Abraham and Saving-Seed Messiah. Therefore, Jesus is the place called Yonder, the Jehovah-jireh. In Jesus’ First Coming He established the messianic promise “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” for the Lord’s provision of a substitutionary sacrifice.

Jehovah-Jireh: Only Begotten Son, Word Made Flesh

In the messianic genealogies in the gospels, both Luke and Matthew in their infancy narratives explain the Lord God of Israel in flesh, beget through Jesus’ Sonship as the Son of God. When the Spirit came upon the virgin, the power of the Most High overshadowed her and conceived the begotten Son uniting flesh with divinity in the incarnate Jesus who would “save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:18, 20-21; Luke 1:35). 

The only son offering (Isaac) in the Genesis narrative (22:2) typed a greater Son (Jesus) offering profiled in the Gospel of John prologue (1:14, 18; 3:16) the Only Begotten Son, the Word made flesh. The Begotten Son fulfilled “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” or God will provide a Lamb for Himself (22:8a; Bernard, 2014). God made flesh in Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29). John in his Gospel supported the manifestation of divinity in humanity in the begotten Son as well: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; cf. 1:18). This divine procreation in Mary’s womb begetting the Son of God provides a continual redemption for humanity, completed in Jesus’ second coming (cf. Isa 7:14). Through the Word made flesh humanity received their provision, Jehovah-jireh.

In another Gospel exposition, the Book of Matthew, God publically announced Jesus as His beloved Son with His anointing symbolically represented with the descent of the dove upon Jesus (Matt 3:17). The Holy Spirit did not baptize Jesus for the beloved Son already had the fullness of God in Him at conception. 

Jehovah Jireh: Son of God, Servant Son

Mark’s Gospel also reveals this same Saving-Seed Messiah and Word Made Flesh through God’s manifestation in Jesus as the Servant Son (1:1-11). He would serve humanity by sacrificing Himself on the Cross as a sin offering.

God incarnated Himself in Jesus as the Son of God assuming the likeness of humanity but without sin when the Spirit came upon the virgin. In sonship, Jehovah-jireh assumes the role of Jesus as the Servant Lord manifested in the form and nature of a bondservant, a slave–Jesus the Servant Son (Luke, 1:35; Phil 2:6-8).  This sinless Son of Man, the Servant Son, gave His life as the substitutionary sin sacrifice on the Cross to serve humanity as a sin offering.

“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt 20:27- 28). The evangelist Matthew speaks of a servant in this verse meaning bondservant (Grk: doulos; cf. Phil 2:7a). As the Servant Son, a bondservant, Jesus gave up His self-interests and will in His humanity to advance God’s mission as a slave. By definition, a bondservant approaches enslavement with joy, devotion, obedience, yielding, and sacrifice (Paron, 2013). “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all’” (Mark 9:35). He served all of humankind fulfilling the Saving-Seed Messiah from the lineage of Abraham as Jehovah Jireh, the Son of God and Servant Son.


Bernard, D. Message of Romans. (1982). Word Aflame Press.

Bullinger, E. W. (2014). Divine names and title. Open Bible Trust.

Conner, K. J. and Malmin, K. (1983). Interpreting the Scriptures: A textbook on how to interpret the Bible. Bible Publishing. 

Deffinbaugh, B. (2004, May 28). The story of the Seed⎯The coming of the promised messiah [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Evans, C. (2012). Matthew: New Cambridge Bible commentary. Cambridge University Press. 

Humphreys, W. L. (2001). Character of God in the book of Genesis. Westminster John Knox Press.

Jukes, A. (1981). Types in the New Testament. Krefeld Publications. 

Kaiser, W. C. (1995).The Messiah in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MO: Zondervan Publishing House. 

Kurtz, J. H. (2004). The sacrificial worship of the Old Testament. Edinburgh, GB: T & T Clark. 

Liesch, B. (1988). People in the presence of God: Models and directions for worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 

Reeves, K. V. (1962). The Godhead, book 1. St. Louis, MO: Trio Printing Co. 

Reeves, K. V. (1984). The supreme Godhead, book 2. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press.

Schultz, S. J. (2000). The Old Testament speaks: A complete survey of Old Testament history and literature (5th ed.). HarperCollins Publishers. 

White, S. L. (1999). Angel of The Lord: Messenger or euphemism?

Jan Paron, PhD


Excerpt from The Redemptive Names of Jehovah

See also The Doctrine of Immutability and God’s Immutable Purpose: The Revealed Redemptive Jehovah Titles in the Incarnate Jesus

[1] The four redemptive provisions include (1) blessings from one’s faithful response to testing (22:1-2; 16-18), (2) opportunity to worship through sacrifice (vv. 5-10), (3) God’s presence during tests (vv. 11-13), and (4) promise of redemption through a Seed Messiah (vv. 16-18).

[2]The redemptive roles uncover Jehovah-Jireh: Son of Abraham, Saving-Seed Messiah; Only Begotten Son, Word Made Flesh; and Son of God, Servant Son.

Theology of Unity


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New Covenant Unity: Exegesis and Theology

“God promised to build David a house (2 Sam. 13-14; cf Act 15:16-17). This house is not the ancient family of David, but the house of God made up of the people of God from all nations and time, a people born of the water and Spirit of God” (Cox, 2012, From Calling to Covenant: The Story of David). Just as Jewish scribes carefully examined jots and tittles joined with Hebrew consonants for detailed meaning throughout ancient text; metaphorically, so too must one turn to these same in Scripture to understand unity in Christ with respect to fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the New Testament with the house of the living God, the Church of Jesus Christ, comprised of the called from all tribes and nations. To determine critical biblical exegesis, this essay utilizes the hermeneutical triad method, examining New Testament unity in the context of history-culture, literature and theology in harmony with Scripture.



Historical Setting

John 17 contains Jesus’ fourth and parting prayer that closes the Johannine Farewell Discourse (Köstenberger, 2007). It occurred during Passion Week, as Jesus sat with His disciples at a meal [1] immediately before His arrest (Matt. 26:17-29). Jesus prays that the “hour is come” (v. 1, cf Matt 26:18; John 7:30; 12:23 and 13:1). He was about to complete His mission. Now, at the threshold of the cross, Jesus submits “as a man to the plan of God through the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension” (Bernard, 1994, p. 113;  cf. Isa. 55:10-11; John 13:1, 3).  It is a mark of transition from His earthly ministry to completion and triumph over the world. Glory is one of the central themes of the Book of John. One sees that His glory fulfills the past and provides a trajectory of future eternal life for those who believe in Him in generations to come (v. 20).

Cultural Background Issues

The Jewish people believed that the “Gentile nations hated them because they were chosen and sent by God and suffered on his account” (Keener, 1993, 302). On the other hand, the Jews resented Jesus grouping most of them with the world. This created great opposition among Jews towards Jesus (cf. John 15:18-19). The author explains that God ‘sanctified’ or “set apart” Israel for himself as holy, especially by giving them his commandments” (Lev 11:44-45). If God had sanctified his people, or set them apart among the nations by giving them the law, how much more are followers of Jesus set apart by his coming as the law made flesh (John 1:1-18 and John 17:17; 1993, p. 305). Unity, and thus covenant, now is extended to those beyond Israel through the glorification of Jesus at the cross. As God and Jesus are one, the disciples and future generations to come are to be one in Him.

Here’s the dilemma, though. Prior to the crucifixion, as related in John 16, the disciples could not fully comprehend what Jesus told them about things to come (John 16:18-19). When Jesus prays, He does so against this backdrop. However, the disciples’ attitude about Jesus as the Messiah changes to that of unity with Him after His ascension. In Acts 1, one reads of them being in one accord, waiting for the Holy Spirit. Further, the disciples speak and witness with boldness and authority to the crowd at Pentecost once they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).

Literary Background

The Book of John contains two main sections which are the Book of Signs (1:19-12:50) and the Book of Glory (13:1-20:31) wrapped in a prologue (1:1-18) and epilogue (21). John 17 is a prayer and part of the Book of Glory (Green, McKnight & Marshall, 1992). Fittingly, the two central themes of this prayer show glory and unity.

Some call this the Farewell Discourse, others the High Priestly Prayer. Both a prayer and discourse, it combines elements of each into a cohesive and powerful whole. When viewing it as the High Priestly Prayer, one sees that Jesus serves as a priestly mediator by interceding for His disciples and those to come who will believe in the disciples’ teachings (cf. Ps 110:1, 4). Jesus, the High Priest, is one “who can boldly and permanently pull back the great curtain that shuts us out from God and invite us all, as brothers and sisters, to come in, to enter into intimacy with the living God” (Long, 1994, p. 96). The Farewell Discourse runs from John 13-17. In this particular portion of the discourse, Jesus, both human and divine, has a serious conversation with the Father through prayer in His humanity.

Linguistically, a discourse is a written or verbal conversation that is serious, lengthy and topic specific (Bing, 2012).  This discourse is in the form of a prayer. It reflects a one-to-one communication between Jesus, the God-man, and the Father on the subjects of glory and unity insofar as the vision for humankind. The action of lifting up your eyes to heaven is an expression commonly used at this time to describe a formal posture for prayer; followed by addressing prayer to “Father, to open” both indicate that the passage is a prayer (Moloney,1989; v.1a). The prayer text verses are either in petitionary or self-focused forms, with one an acknowledgment. [2]

Positioned at the end of the Farewell Discourse, the prayer transitions the reader to forthcoming events. This prayer sums up John’s Gospel account focusing on the unity of believers (MacArthur Bible, p. 1618). Scholars organize this prayer into three or four parts. For the purpose of highlighting the unity of believers, this essay will use Renee Kieffer’s outline of the prayer’s contents: (1) Jesus asked the Father to be glorified (vv. 1-5); (2) Jesus prays for the disciples – chosen, (vv. 6-11a) protected (vv. 11b-16) and sanctified (vv. 17-19); (3) Jesus prays for unity of all believers (vv. 20-23) and (4) Jesus prays for the disciples love (vv.24-26; Oxford Bible Dictionary, 2001).

Jesus anchors His prayer to the setting of 13:1-4. Physically, Jesus still sits at the table with His disciples. Yet, He prays undisturbed, making known publically that His hour has come and He is no longer of the world. Throughout He petitions, discourses and intercedes. Moloney believed this prayer is both a unified literary structure and theological argument (2009).

Consider for a moment the broader purpose and audience for this prayer. While Jesus prays for His disciples, and does so in their presence, the long-term implication is that He addresses unity of the yet formed Christian community of the future (vv. 20-23). In doing so, Jesus lays foundational direction for a unified, greater body of subsequent believers from all tribes and nations. Unity embeds itself within references to oneness for the body of believers found in John 17:20-23: 

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 

Jesus, as a man praying for men, yet at the same time “The AM” (ego eime) come in flesh (13:19; 18:4-5), petitions for oneness four times within this passage (vv.21-23): (1) “That they all may be one” (v. 21a); (2) “that they also may be one in us:” (v. 21b); (3) “that they may be one, even as we are one” (v. 22) and (4) “that they may be made perfect in one;” (v. 23).  

One (G1520, transliterated as hā’s from the Greek εἷς) is a cardinal number, in nominative masculine form. While a number, it connotes different meanings such as one in contrast to many, single to the exclusion to others, one alone, one and the same, union and concord, a certain one, every one and first (Vine’s in Blue Letter Bible, 2012). Since the meaning depends on factors like context within the actual verse, cross reference with other verses and parallel structures, decidedly, one must look at each occurrence of one in John 17:21-23.

Do note that each of the verses in John 17:21-23 begins with the word that, signifying a prayer of petition. Further, the conjunction that, or ἵνα in Greek (transliterated as hina), indicates a subjunctive clause will follow. In a general sense the conjunction ἵνα means “that or in order that” (Dana & Matey, 1955). Further, according to Dana and Matey, when the ἵνα is final, as is in these passages, it translates to “in order that.”  Accordingly, a verb constructed in present subjunctive tense “signals continuous action and a statement of purpose” (Mounce, 1987, p. 187). Each one of the statements referencing oneness in John 21-23 is in hina, subjunctive clause construction. It would appear that these clauses highlight a statement of result that predicates on an issue, need or subject from the preceding sentence.

“That they may be one” (v. 21a).  The hina clause, “that they may be one” (v. 21a) connects to the preceding subjects, “for these alone” and “them also which shall believe on me through their word” (v. 20). Jesus prays for a union of people from the disciples to generations to come (allusion. Deut 29:14-15), consisting of “one fold and one shepherd” (cf John 10:16; 11:51-52; 56:8; Isa. 42:6b), with the result of being joined in “unity of purpose and knowledge through Jesus” (cf John 10:30; Miller, 2011). Beale and Carson parallel Jesus’ concern for unity to “fraternal love and harmony in Jewish testamentary literature” (2007, p.499).

“That they also may be one in us” (v. 21b).  With this hina clause the subjects are the same, “for these alone” and “them also which shall believe on me through their word” (v. 20). This time, Jesus prays for the result “That they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (v. 21b). He petitions that the disciples, as well as those to come abide in the one Shepherd, as one fold to bear unified witness to the identity of Jesus as the Sent One (John 17:5, 24; Zech 2:9).

“That they may be one, even as we are one” (v. 22b). In this hina clause, one sees a need in the preceding sentence that is “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;” (v. 22a). It results in “that they may be one, even as we are one” (v.22b) Apostle Paul picks this same up referring to unveiled faces, transformed into His likeness that reflect the Lord’s glory (2 Cor 3:18). Of importance is group solidarity. Jesus asks that they be kept together as one fold, just as he did with the disciples (cf 17:11). Bruce Malina (2009) likened this solidarity to group glue founded on love (in Neyrey, Gospel of John in Cultural and Rhetorical Perspective, p. 469). Just as Jesus “loved his own who were in the world, he loved them perfectly” (13:1). Facing His own departure He gave a new command that “you love one another’ even as I have love you, that you also love one another” (13:34).  Solidarity in maintained when one loves (ἀγαπάω) one another. Love is the glue of solidarity that solidifies relationship.

“That they may be made perfect in one” (v.23b).“The sentence prior to the hina clause shows need: “I in them, and thou in me (v. 23a), so that “they may be made perfect in one” (v.23b). When the fold remains unified, all the while abiding in Christ and Him dwelling within them, He matures them as one and makes them complete His fullness.

Theological Message

One sees the historical, cultural, and literary background of the High-Priestly prayer. Jesus faced great opposition. Strife and conflict among Jews prevailed over the message of the forthcoming Messiah. Even Jesus’ own disciples did not grasp the full implications of His discourse and revealed identity in John 13-16. Consider for a moment the broader purpose and audience for this prayer. While Jesus prays for His disciples, He not only prays that they remain one, but addresses future unity of the yet formed Christian community (vv. 20-23).

This prayer serves the purpose of providing direction for a unified, body of believers from all tribes and nations – The Church of Jesus Christ. An analysis of the result statements (hina clauses) for oneness shows four major premises for unity of the Church in the areas of purpose and knowledge, bearing witness, reflecting His glory and perfecting as one in Him:

  1. That believers may be joined together as “one fold and one shepherd” with “unity of purpose and knowledge through Jesus” (cf John 10:30; 17:21a; Miller, 2011).
  2. That believers abide in the one Shepherd and as one fold to bear unified witness in unity to the identity of Jesus as the Sent One (John 17:21b).
  3. That they may be kept in solidarity as one fold, transformed into His likeness to reflect the His glory (John 17:22; 2 Cor 3:18).
  4. That they may be made complete and full as one, collectively abiding in Christ and Him dwelling within every believer (John 17:23).

Taking into consideration the central theme of unity found in the Book of John and four premises that direct unity in John 17:20-23, one can formulate a theology that informs practice for the local church. With this in mind, the M.O.S.A.I.C. framework for a heterogeneous church was created as a tool to bring to life a user-friendly unity (Paron, 2012). The framework aligns itself to the unity Jesus prayed for in His Church during the High Priestly prayer that would bring His church into oneness. This framework references six scriptural-based elements that support unity of the body [4].

“M” Intentional Ministry to the Multitudes

“Intentional steps to direct the salvation message to different people groups representing God’s elect” (Paron, 2012, Framework PPT) In order to join the called from every tribe and nation into one fold with one Shepherd, one must take intentional steps in ministry to support “unity through opportunities for reconciliation, invitation across cultures, diverse ministry team, brotherhood, cross-cultural relationships, spiritual growth measures, community and culture needs” (Paron, 2012, Framework).

Jesus freely offered the salvation message to the marginalized of society. He broke “down the middle wall of partition between us; by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace”(Eph 2:14-15 KJV). These were intentional acts on His part. Several examples can be found of Him reaching out to the multitudes, and in the process, He tore down the wall that separated people from the salvation message.  You see example of His reach to the multitudes: Jesus evangelized to the Samaritan woman at the well and dwelled with her town people (John 4); ate with sinners and tax collectors, i.e., Levi the publican (Luke 5:29); healed a man with dropsy (14:2); forgave a criminal while He was on the Cross (23:43). After His ascension, Jesus sent power, “after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” to be witnesses “to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8) The infilling of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2:38; cf 2:4; 10:46; 19:6) during New Birth, enables believers to show the aspects of forbearance and love from the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4:2-3) to each other that brings about unity of the multitudes.

“O” Views Others with Openness

 “Invite and embrace the diversity of God’s chosen by extending the love of Christ to people within and outside your community” (Paron, 2012).  One shows openness by “willingly learning and seeking to understand different cultures for the cause of the Gospel; viewing without judgment; honoring all people and showing that each have equal status in the Kingdom; exhibiting cross-cultural servitude; practicing hospitality in the context of another person’s culture;showing love, compassion, care and person hood, connection to brotherhood within community and valuing the diversity of the one human family who God created in His image” (Paron, 2012). As such, you respect other people’s culture and consider their viewpoint as influenced by cultural background.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the disciples did not join seamlessly together as a group. They showed sometimes jealously and conflict or judged those within and outside their own circle. Jesus stressed solidarity. One example can be shown in Christ’s ministry that demonstrates His unconditional and unwavering love for His disciples, even under conditions of duress. For “Christ loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 1:1). Even before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knew His time had come (13:1). The disciples and Jesus finished their supper (13:2), the devil “put into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray” Jesus (13.2) and Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, “knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands…” (13:3). Yet, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, including those of Judas. In ancient times, foot washing was deemed a task for slaves. Jesus performed this act, showing the love of a servant’s heart. He did not breach His love, showing the same for each. He also modeled that they should wash each other’s feet in this save type of servitude (John 13:14-16).

“S” Adapt the Method, Keeping the MeSSage

Be open and flexible with people from different backgrounds; while at the same time, have a willingness to examine and change existing perceptions them. In order to adapt to different cultures to bring about unity you have to contextualize the message, yet sift through and practices that do not align with Scripture. You “realize that people perceive communication and interaction differently; adapt ministry to include people, change practices to adapt to different cultures and avoids practices that promote colonialism” to support unity as a body of believers. The goal is to unite the body in Christ and as He within the body to be “made perfect in one” (John 17:23). It is through the process of adaptation that you open doors to reconciliation. If you look again at the foot washing, Peter twice protested to Jesus about it. The second time that Jesus responded to Peter, the answer was stronger and clearer. Jesus had to change the message’s content so Peter could understand that he needed to be washed in a spiritual way and perfected in Christ.

“A” Focuses on the Call to the All

Christ’s vision stretched forward to them who would believe in Him through the disciples’ word, “that they all may be one” (John 17:20.) This means that as a leader, you have the responsibility to carry forward Jesus’ vision and minister to the all of society. You must be in unity with His vision for humankind. The Blue Letter Bible defines all in Matt 28:19, as “each, every, all, the whole, all things, and everything” (2012). As leader then must support impartiality and inclusivity in all aspects of ministry, as well as show actions of acceptance through inclusion and hold attitudes that are impartial or unbiased towards others. Above all, this requires that a leader not move, yield or waver in the call — Endure and stand in calling through Christ.  Other actions associated with the call to the all are to

bring together a diverse congregation; nurture a faith community that supports transformation for all people; negotiate cultural boundaries; create a culture for discipleship to develop leaders across cultures and generations  in an indigenous context; model actions of a peacemaker; prays unity for and with  leaders, believers, and those to come (Paron, 2012).

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus said, “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. Jesus stayed true to this mission, despite great opposition. Likewise, Jesus commanded His disciples to, “Go ye into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:20).

The Apostle Paul took up this charge and kept his focus as missionary to the Gentiles. Paul did not stray from his purpose despite being shipwrecked, bitten by a snake, beaten, verbally assaulted, run out of town, imprisoned and beheaded. After his conversion, he took missionary journeys, planted churches, wrote letters, disciple leaders and supported established churches. He said, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Cor 9:24). When believers keep to this call across culture, shoulder-to-shoulder as one fold, they to bear witness in unity to the identity of Jesus as the Sent One (John 17:21b).

“I” Shows Inclusion and Impartiality

This type of unity supports actions of acceptance through inclusion and impartiality towards others (Paron, 2012).  This means that there is no room for racial superiority, inaccessibility or partiality. You must  “incorporate methods/activities that give access, invite and welcome a broad base of people groups across cultures; model impartiality and inclusivity across cultures; celebrate and encourage the presence of a variety of people in all activities and recognize differences as diversity rather than inappropriate responses” (Paron, 2012).

 Luke 7:36-49 compares exclusionary and inclusionary attitudes and practices. On one hand is the exclusionary practice of the Pharisee who was concerned about the “woman of the city who was a sinner,” weeping as she wiped, kissed and anointed Jesus feed with ointment (7:37-28). On the other from an inclusive perspective, Jesus commended the woman for her faithfulness and forgave her sins (7:44-48). As a result of the latter, the woman joined the “one fold and one shepherd” (John 10:30).

“C” Uses Value Communication

Communication connects people from different cultural backgrounds to the Gospel message by serving as a bridge.Apostle Peter says to “be of one mind, having compassion on one of another, love as a brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that year are called, that we should inherit a blessing” Cross-cultural communication comes into play to launch and maintain unity. This is not a one-style or one-way type of communication. You

value deep listening with others, seeking to hear the said and unsaid; receptively listen with patience and respect; realize your one’s own expectations and learned experiences serve as a filter to understanding; aim to understand and emphasize with others regardless of denomination, race, ethnicity, socio economics, gender or age, etc.; affirm when communicating and value deep listening with others, seeking to hear the said and unsaid (Paron, 2012).

The apostles used affirming language that showed the love of Christ. For example, Apostle Paul gave Timothy a holy greeting with, “Grace, mercy and peace” (1 Tim 1:2) and the Roman saints, as Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1: 7). He spoke life into the saints at Ephesus by telling of their identity in Christ (Eph 1, 2). Whether Jew or Gentile, Paul affirmed their identity in Christ, thus, keeping everyone equally valued.

The premises stand the test of time, reminding believers of true unity. The hallmark is to view unity as one whole that leads to “one fold and one shepherd” (John 10:16). Ephesians 4:3-45states, “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Simply stated, one is one: one times one equals one and one divided by one still equals one. Believers must unite as one, across all cultural boundaries to fulfill Christ’s petition for His people.

Reprint and Updated, (All Rights Reserved, 2021)

Jan Paron, PhD

3.12.21 (2nd revision)


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  1. Each of the synoptic account, indicates that the Last Supper took place “on the night in which he was betrayed” (1 Cor 11:23). Diverse opinions exist, though, whether the meal was part of the Passover. For a detailed account of the Last Supper, I suggest reading M.O.Wise’s commentary on the Last Supper in The dictionary of Jesus and the Gospel.
  2. Malina’s taxonomy of prayer show two basic forms of prayer in John 17: Petitionary and self-focused. Verses 17:2, 5, 9,11,15,17, 20,21and 24 are petionary, while 6, 6-8, 9, 10, 12, 13-14, 16, 18-19, 20-21. 22-23 and 25-26 are self focused. One verse is acknowledgement (v. 3).
  3. Jesus, as a man praying for men, yet at the same time the AM (ego eime) come in flesh (13:19; 18:4-5), petitions for oneness four times within this passage (vv.21-23).
  4.  I created the framework as a means to guide the thought and practices of field practitioners on component of a heterogeneous, multicultural church. Various researchers, most notably Mark DeYmaz, extracted key factors for unity, but none provided a detailed account. This framework launches from John 17:20-23, utilizing the Book of John as a foundation for actions of unity. In turn, these actions cross referenced with those from the rest of the New Testament. So that users remember the key components, I attached these elements to the acronym M.O.S.A.I.C. to give a visual reminder for unity of diversity in the body of Christ. The acronym has six basic elements, with indicators to detail it further: (1) “M” intentionally ministers to the multitudes; (2) “O” views others with openness; (3) “S” adapts the method, not the meSSage; (4) “A” focuses on the call to the all; (5) “I” shows inclusion and impartiality and (f) “C” uses value communication. 

Himself Took on Our Infirmities, and Bare Our Sicknesses (Matt 8:17)


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Advent Day 17

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses (Matt 8:17).

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa 53:4).


In the midst of a chapter in Matthew that chronicled healing and casting out demonic oppression, Scripture reveals Jesus as the Suffering Servant—the One who carries our illnesses with all authority of the Son of God, the Incarnate God in flesh through His Spirit’s conception (Matt 8:29; Luke 1:35 ). As the Son, Jesus has the very nature and character of God. Jesus cleansed a leper with the touch of His hand (8:3), healed the centurion’s servant through the power of His word (vv. 7,13) healed Peter’s mother-in-law by the touch of His hand (v. 15), cast out the many possessed with devils by casting out spirits (v. 16), rebuked the raging sea through His own command (v. v. 28), and exorcised two demoniacs with the one-word “Go” (v. 32). Matthew wrote in 8:16 that Jesus, “cast out spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.”

The messianic nature fulfills the words of Esaias in Isa 53:4 by Jesus taking our infirmities and bearing our diseases: “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” Took and bare together encompass the Hebrew bore from Isa 53:4 (Bullinger). The verb bore (Heb: נָשָׂא; nasa’) means to lift, lay upon, or carry (qal perfect). Conjugated in the qal, active tense perfect, it points to the actions of Jesus the Messiah.

But, what did Jesus lay upon Himself? The verb nasa’ signifies sin and the making atonement for it. Jesus the Suffering Servant, who did not come in sinful flesh, would bear all infirmities and take away the sin of humanity—diseases, griefs, and punishment of the world. He would bare sin on the Cross at Calvary so that His children would be dead to sin, but alive in righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).

Jan Paron, PhD

(Excerpt from Incarnational Theology of Emmanuel in the Book of Matthew)

The Coming King: When Love Arrived (Matt 21:5)


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Advent Day 13

Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Mat 21:5; Zech 9:9).


Often titled Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion, signaled a journey of life or death for the people in the crowd that surrounded Him that day. Who was in that crowd? The mix of people reflected Jews in Jerusalem for the Passover feast who came out to greet Jesus having heard He resurrected Lazarus from the dead, and those following behind Him, mainly His disciples (Matt 21:9; Mark 11:9). But also among this crowd stood the Pharisees, displeased over Jesus’ public honoring (Luke 19:39). The excitement from the crowd even caught the attention of the rest of the city.

Did the crowd recognize that Love had arrived as the King who came riding in a donkey? This very King, God manifested in flesh as Jesus, traveled the road to the Cross for the greatest and ultimate display of love—The Messiah who would redeem humanity at the Cross as their Conqueror over sins. What greater love than this! Let’s reflect on how those present may have responded to Jesus’ query to His disciples in Luke 9:18: “Who do the crowds say that I am?” —The pilgrims at the Feast, Jesus’ disciples, the Pharisees, and the city inhabitants.
For the multitudes of Jews who went to meet Jesus on the road he traveled into Jerusalem, the pilgrims at the Feast, their spreading of palm branches before Him may have signified recognition of their awaited messiah who would liberate them in victory from Roman occupation. They looked at the raising of Lazarus as a sign. Perhaps, in affirmation of Jesus as their political and national King of Israel they shouted “ Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest” (Mark 11: 9-10).

In Hebrew, Hosanna means “save indeed.” However, during the time of Jesus, it had evolved into a greeting that expressed a wish rather than a fact. Also, Jews greeted pilgrims arriving into Jerusalem with “Blessed in the Lord’s name be he who comes, Even the king of Israel.” Thus, did those who went to meet Jesus affirm Him as their Messiah or acclaim Him as a special dignitary entering the city?

For His disciples that had been with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. Luke 19:28 describes them rejoicing and praising God for all the mighty works they had seen. However, they did not understand the recognition until Jesus’ glorification. John 12:16 explained “they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him.”

For the Pharisees viewing the procession, it further demonstrated their contempt toward Him and possibly envy, when murmured to one another, “You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him.” (John 12:16-19 RSV). Some of the Pharisees from the crowd even asked Jesus to control His disciples (Luke 19:39).

For those in the city they suspiciously asked, “Who is this?” Instead of shouting “Hosanna.” The crowd informed them, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee” (Matt 21:11). In reality, Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the Suffering Servant, the Love who had arrived in Jerusalem. He later experienced extreme physical and emotional pain to accomplish His mission of atoning love in His glorification at the Cross.

Despite the crowd laying palm branches and shouting Hosanna, the entry into Jerusalem did not bring Jesus joy. Luke 19:41 described Him weeping over Jerusalem as He beheld it. He lamented their fate of forfeiting the peace that belonged to them. In John 12:37, Scripture highlighted the Jews unbelief. Despite Jesus’ numerous signs, they believed not in Him.

Those who acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, walk the pathway of life that led to His victory over sin at His crucifixion. In Col 2:15, Paul wrote that Jesus triumphed over principalities and authorities. As the Conqueror, He defeated sin. His death brings eternal life. Christ proved His immense love by dying for us.

Jan Paron, PhD

(Excerpt from the Theology of Emmanuel in the Book of Matthew)

Seeking the Star of Jacob: Where Can God Be Found (Unabridged Sermon)


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Advent Day 12

2Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 3Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him (Matt 2:1-2).


With the constant broadcast of bad news, the media inundates the public with a daily narrative of despair and bleakness to create the sense of a dark, dark winter ahead due to the pandemic effect. I imagine some may have cried out in discouragement: God, where are you? Where can God be found? But, I’m here to tell you today–based on the story of the magi in Matt 2 as its backdrop–of a long-lasting truth from an everlasting Savior in this advent season–one of hope…one of love…one of joy…and one of peace, 

Where can God be found? God made Himself known to man in the Son of God as deity incarnated in humanity as Jesus or Emmanuel, God with us–The agency of God’s Spirit conceived Jesus in the expectant Mary, a child born in humanity and Son in divinity (Isa 9:6a; Matt 1:23a,b)–Emmanuel, God’s revelation of  Himself as the Light that shines in the darkness, that darkness cannot overcome (John 15:1).

Over 2,000 years ago, the Gentile magi came from the east asking the question, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? (Matt 2:2). Though a Roman title for Israel’s monarch, prophecy fulfilled a much greater role in Jesus as King of the Jews–the King who descended from the Davidic line having a God identity. The Matthean infancy narrative in 1:22-23 first explained Jesus’ kingly nature as God with Us who “will save His people from their sins.” Reading on from the infancy narrative in this same book, the author portrayed Jesus as the King of the Jews. This echoes Num 24:17 as the Star out of Jacob as well as Isaiah 60:1, “arise, shine, for thy light is come.” As the book of Matthew unfolds, the author uncovers a full portrait of Jesus as the Servant-King.

Where can God be found? The magi located God in flesh, Emmanuel, in the village of Bethlehem, the city of David in Judah. They honored Him as a great king by worshiping or paying homage to Him. Why does the fulfillment of two prophecies from Numbers and Isaiah hold importance echoing the magi matter? Because it points to where God abodes for all men–the Light dwelling among His people accessible even to the pagan Gentiles. For “from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord (Isa 60:6b). God will remember His covenant with Israel and save them, but also will give salvation to the Gentiles (Rom 11:27). 

Where can God be found? We need not look far to find Emmanuel, God with us. Through the sealing of His Spirit we find Him dwelling within us in our tabernacle. Through Jesus’ Spirit we inherit His divine nature. During Advent from November 29 to December 24, we celebrate and affirm He who lives in us remembering His hope, love, peace, and joy. 


The magi arrived in Jerusalem seeking the King of the Jews to worship Him. They made their entrance into Jesus’ early life with a trip based on hope and faith, after traveling from a distant land somewhere in the East. Quite possibly, they traveled from Parthia, off the Persian Gulf over the International Highway from Southern Iraq and Iran through Syria and finally to Jerusalem. The trip posed many risks for them. While wise men often paid tribute to kings, they journeyed over land traveling 500 miles to the Jerusalem area. If they went by camel, the trip would have taken them approximately 25-50 days at 10-20 miles per day over rough terrain. Also, they carried a valuable cargo of gold, frankincense, and myrrh equivalent to several million dollars in today’s economy. Perhaps, soldiers accompanied them as protection, which would have intimidated local leaders as they passed through various villages. The trip into Judea further carried political risk that Herod Antipitas the king  and the Romans could have viewed as an act of war. It had not been that long ago that Judea had been under Parthian control as they supported the Hasmonean Dynasty that ruled the land before Herod and the Romans took over. Between the distance, terrain, economic, and political dynamics, the trip carried many risks. 

But, notice how Scripture describes the star in Matt 2:2 as “His star,” meaning it signified “the one who has been born king of the Jews,” none other than Jesus. Matthew 1 and 2 unpack His identity in the infancy narrative giving a periscope view of Him: Jesus, called the Christ in His genealogy (Matt 1:16), meaning the Messiah, the Anointed One; Jesus, who would save His people from their sins (1:21); and God with us, Emmanuel (v. 23). He is our Hope!

The general New Testament definition from Vine’s Expository Dictionary described hope as a favorable and confident expectation. How did the magi possibly know where to find Emmanuel? God sent a supernatural star to them where He chose to reveal Himself in Emmanuel, God with us–the Hope of Salvation. They believed and acted upon the hope they saw.

Where can God be found? God with us, the Hope of our Salvation, dwells in His redeemed. God with us provides us the object upon which hope comes (1 Tim 1:1). The New Testament describes hope with three adjectives: good (2 Thess 2:16), blessed (Titus 2:13), and living (1 Pet 1:3). Hebrews adds a better hope because of the better New Covenant in Jesus. While the magi journeyed to find Him, even in the face of many risks, they followed His star as a guide. Our better Hope lives within us illuminated by the light from His star–the Holy Ghost!


Interestingly, Matthew contrasted two kings of the Jews in the passage about the magi: Herod and Jesus, former self-serving and latter a servant to others. The kingship of Jesus roots itself in prophecy and will result in the salvation of His people. While Jesus loved His people so much He died for them as their King so they would live, Herod slew his Bethlehem subjects; children (two and under) so that he could live and reign as king. Love as a deliverer distinguishes Jesus as the heavenly Star and Scepter, while hate in suspicion characterized Herod as a temporary, earthly king.

The genealogy of Jesus in Matt 1, identified Him as the Messiah, the King of Israel. As King David’s descendant to the throne of Israel, Jesus fulfills the greater reign and authority of the Almighty promised in the Old Testament. In Num 24:17, Balaam prophesied the Messiah’s future comings in kingdom language as the Star out of Jacob and the Scepter that would rise out of Israel. The Star out of Jacob refers to the Son of David–the incarnation of the one true God who dwells among His people–who would redeem His people from their sin. The scepter describes His authority over kings, peoples, and nations. In Jesus second coming, He will rule with a scepter taking His rightful place with authority over worldly kingdoms (Rev 12:4; 19:15). 

The Roman senate appointed Herod, king of the Jews. He came from south of Judea in Idumea, the second son of Antipater. Herod descended from the Edomites, whose ancestors converted to Judaism. Herod was raised as a Jew, albeit in name only. He made a number of achievements including liberating Jerusalem in 38-37 BC, which also made his control over Judea complete. However, achieved his kingship through deceit, bribery, assassination, and cruelty. He did anything but liberate the Jews.

Where can God be found? Jesus died to offer eternal life by His unconditional grace that only comes through His great love for us! We must accept the love offered in absolute, perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:14; Eph 2:4; 3:19; 5:2).


For one special event in history, the God who rules the heavens chose to reveal Himself–the Lord is come, Joy to the world to those who know Him–where pagans looked (cf. Acts 19: 12, 15-20). God illuminated the pathway to Jesus with a supernatural sign, just as He led his own people by the fire and cloud in the wilderness (Exod 13:21-22).

The Magi commonly would represent the Persian king to honor a reigning king. They were sages, wise men, and astrologists often in positions of responsibility commanding respect because of their wisdom. They prophesied, explained omens, interpreted dreams, and practiced divination (Dan 2:2, 48; 4:9). God used these pagan Gentiles entering into Jerusalem to announce the birth of a king. More than likely, they came with a large caravan and caught the attention of Herod and everyone else in Jerusalem. 

A star guided the magi to the King of the Jews whom they sought. Jesus’ Spirit serves as the believer’s guide–a light in the darkness for His complete joy. Herod and the scribes knew where the Messiah would be born according to Scripture, but did not act on it in faith.

Where can God be found? Matthew 2:9-10 says that when the magi  “heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them.The magi did not have to look for the Child because the star literally stood over the place where Jesus lay. When the wise men saw the star, they rejoiced with “exceeding great joy” (2:10). Exceedingly means that joy overwhelmed the wise men. May I suggest the Magi recognized the presence of God Himself in the Christ child whom they would worship as a cause for joy. Likewise, Jesus’ star stands over us to let us know of His presence. That same star serves as a type to locate “God with us” in every believer. Jesus promises us in the book of Mathew’s close in chapter 28:20 with the words “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Look at the star that stands over us for Emmanuel.


God alone provides our source of peace. God robed in humanity as Emmanuel reflects the full embodiment of Him. Therefore, Jesus–God with us–manifests Yahweh Shalom (Judg 6:24 ) in His fulfilled nature as the Lord is Peace. The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, means wholeness in all of life, completeness, welfare, and safety. The Lord came to sinful humankind, historically first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, desiring to enter into a relationship with them to give them His peace. He established with them a covenant of peace, which He sealed with His presence (Num 6:24-26 ). 

Herod sought to destroy Yahweh Shalom viewing the infant Jesus as a threat to his rule. However, the pagan Magi looked for Jesus so they could worship Him. God never held the Gentiles as an afterthought in His redemptive plan, but they had been part of His work in history from the beginning.

Where can God be found? He offers redemption through His Name to all people. With redemption comes His peace. The name Yahweh Shalom represents His self-revealed character in Emmanuel– God with us–as the Lord is Peace. When we come to Him in worship, we feel the  holy presence of His perfect peace in harmony with our Savior.


The story of the Magi and the star that guided them accomplished many purposes in the infancy narrative of Jesus: it acknowledged the birth of the King–the Star of Jacob and Scepter of Israel, gave access to the Gentiles, fulfilled prophecy, and guided the Magi. It was a divine, heavenly sign God used for a historical purpose. Though news of the Star of Bethlehem signaling a new ruler troubled King Herod, it serves as a divine, heavenly reminder to believers in Christ of the Deliverer who ushered in a new Kingdom. Perhaps, God plans to send another with the Christmas Star to appear on December 21, that God with us still provides hope, love, joy, and peace.

Jan Paron, PhD


Preached at Lighthouse Church of All Nations (12.9.20)

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done (Matt 6:10)


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Advent Day 11

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10).

In the fullness of time, the kingdom came nigh. God incarnated Himself in Jesus as Emmanuel, the Dayspring from on high (Luke 1:78). The conception of the Holy Ghost in the virgin Mary initiated the kingdom (Matt 1:23). God with us–the appearing of the Mighty God, our Father–rules over the true kingdom on earth and heaven, as Star in the first coming and Scepter in the second (Num 24:17). Glorious like a star, the Bright and Morning Star (Rev 2:18; 22:16), Emmanuel shined His light in dark places to bring salvation (2 Pet 1:19) during His earthly ministry. He governs the kingdom with all authority to rule as a scepter fulfilling the future kingdom in which there will be no end (Isa 9:6-7; Dan 7:13-14; Luke 1:32-33; Rev 11:15).


Jesus reigns over no ordinary kingdom, rather one messianic with all divine power in this present age and that to come. Thy kingdom come in Matt 6:10 reflects not only Emmanuel in His future second coming but also His desire for His servants to broaden kingdom purposes after His first coming during the Church Age. His servants spread His kingdom with their beatitude character qualities and actions (Matt 7:16, 20; John 13:35; 1 John 3:10).

Jan Paron, PhD


(Excerpt from the Incarnational Theology of Emmanuel in the Book of Matthew)

The Authority of “I Say Unto You” (Matt 5:21-22)



Advent Day 10

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…(22) But I say unto you (Matt 5:21-22).

In Matt 5:21-48, Scripture presents six antitheses to reframe the Law of Moses. These opposite statements pair “Ye have heard” with “But I say unto you” to form six contrasting, new thoughts about the Law that Jesus taught (e.g., 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). He introduced the Law in a new frame of Kingdom culture with full Messianic authority as the Incarnate God who became the Law with the form and purpose of the Word to fulfill it.

On the heels of the beatitudes (vv 1-12), the God who gave the Law to Moses mediated through angels, incarnated Himself in Jesus to become the Law (cf. Gal 3:13). God with us needed no mediators since He took on the identity of the Son superior over angels in the form and purpose of the Word (John 1:1; Heb 1:4). For this reason, He Himself could reformulate prophetic and rabbinic declarations and teachings with greater authority to proclaim it Himself for the coming Kingdom at hand.

Under the old covenant, rabbinical Torah teachings began with “Thus saith Lord.” However, Emmanuel, God with us, came not to destroy the Law but fulfill it (5:17; 9:13; 10:34, 35; 20:28) to save His people (1:21). Therefore, through His words, deeds, death, resurrection, and ascension He demonstrated God’s presence among His people (1:23) Thus, He came to complete the Law and purpose for which it existed (Isa 55:10-11).

Jesus has the authority to promote the Law of God because He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets to culminate the Law (Rom 10:4). He declared the importance of His fulfillment by punctuating it with a verily, meaning amen (Matt 5:17)! His authority derives itself from the embodiment of the invisible God with us in Jesus, which gave Him full rights to state “But I say unto you.” Thus, Jesus’ fulfillment illustrates the King who descended from David, as God directly speaking and dealing with man. Jesus—Emmanuel, God with us—has scriptural authority through His kingly assent from the Davidic lineage and having a God identity.

Jan Paron, PhD


(Excerpt from the Incarnational Theology of Emmanuel in the Book of Matthew) #advent2020#apostolicpentecostal#onenessofGod

The Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand (Matt 4:16)


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Advent Day 8

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (17) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt 4:16-17).

Picking up where John the Baptist ended due to His imprisonment, Emmanuel transitioned to His teaching ministry throughout Galilee of the Gentiles (Isa 9:1) in the center of Herod’s kingdom (vv. 14-17; cf. Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31). While John the Baptist announced the conclusion of the old covenant, Jesus revealed the new with the long-awaited kingdom of heaven (kingdom of God) at hand. In Jesus, the kingdom has come. He brought the kingdom’s mission and purpose to Capernaum, a densely populated village strategically located by the Sea of Galilee for ministry and ripe to meet the multitudes due to its many bustling crossroads. Gentiles also heavily populated Galilee.


Though the Jews rejected Him as such in Nazareth, He brought nigh the kingdom of heaven continuing His ministry in Galilee. Emmanuel’s presence–God with us–brought a broad light to a people darkened by oppression from Roman occupation. Converging on the crossroads of Galilee, He walked among people both diverse ethnically as well as politically, yet similar economically working the land or sea. As the monarch over the kingdom of heaven, it signifies Jesus’ rule and His unchallenged reign or authority (Ps 103:19). Jesus inaugurated the kingdom in the fullness of time–the arrival of Israel’s expected King (Mark 1:15); the Messiah redeemed it through His death and resurrection (Col 2:14-15); and He will return it during His final, righteous reign (Dan 7:14; Rev 19:16). 

The Light, both divine and human, comprises the full character, personality, and quality of the one God (John 10:30; 15:9-10). In Emmanuel, the invisible God revealed His express image (Phil 2:9-11; Col 1:1:15). Therefore, Jesus fulfilled Isa 9:12: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (cf. Matt 4:16). The Light preached repentance of sin to prepare them for His kingdom (4:17). Emmanuel made His presence known to them (Luke 17:20-21) teaching, preaching, and healing all manner of sickness and disease throughout Galilee (e.g., Matt 4:23; Mark 1; Luke 4). He took on the human role of.servant “to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:25). To the Gentiles, the Light would bring revelation in His first advent (Luke 2:32a). To the Jews, God with us walking among His people would deliver them offering the covenanted kingdom to Israel as the promised Redeemer and glory of His people Israel (Luke 2:32b). The  Light dawning in the darkness and shadow of death would return them from exile (Isa 9:12; cf. Matt 4:16-17), and shine in glory on Israel in His second advent (Luke 2:29-32).  

Jan Paron, PhD


(Excerpt from The Incarnational Theology of Emmanuel in the Book of Emmanuel)

Emmanuel: Generation of Jesus According to Matthew


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Advent Day 7

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations (Matt 1:17).


The Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Written to the Jews, the author’s intent was to identify Jesus as the Messiah, the King of Israel. By way of ancestry, Matthew links Jesus with two great figures in the history of Israel: King David and Abraham. These men represent the two major Old Testament covenants, Abrahamic and Davidic. The author supported his Gospel’s theme with this connection by showing throughout that Jesus is the Son who partially fulfilled and will completely fulfill the promises of these two covenants at His first and second comings. His death and resurrection would be the basis for their fulfillment. Next, the genealogy of Jesus not only is a historical fact, but an account with a strong support base in the Scripture. Scripture includes portions of Jesus‘ genealogy throughout select books of the Old Testament. This shows the Messiah’s lineage as part of Scripture. Matthew based his record of the Lord’s genealogy on the inspired Word, and the early church used it as a witnessing tool to both Jews and Gentiles.

Genealogical Periods

The Holy Spirit opened Matthew’s understanding and guided him to find Christ’s genealogy in Scripture. However, Scripture did not record parts of this genealogy. The Jews after their return from the Babylonian exile demonstrates one example. Matthew does, though, connected the vast gap between Zerubbabel and Jacob, the father of Joseph. According to Matthew, this period covers fourteen generations, but what Matthew recorded sufficiently connected Jesus of Nazareth with the Old Testament. Luke, using the genealogy of Mary, traces Christ’s lineage back to David, and then back to Shem, the son of Noah, and then back to Adam. Here, the author identified Jesus with the human race and qualified Him as Savior. Matthew used portions of Scripture along with historical records to establish the royal lineage of Jesus of Nazareth as King of Israel. Matthew divided his genealogy into three periods of fourteen generations each: The first called the period of patriarchs runs from Abraham to David; the second, the period of kings, ranges from David until the last king going into exile in Babylon; and last called the post exile, from Babylon until the birth of Christ. The last period covered the full, 600-year period up to Christ’s birth without mentioning everyone in this line. It stayed silent on the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, as well as the partial period of two hundred years after the exile. Matthew’s approach proved the royal lineage of Jesus through Joseph, His legal father.

The Expression Begat

Once Matthew arrived at “Jacob who begat Joseph” (Matt 1:16 KJV), he did not use this expression about Jesus. Instead, Matthew writes “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (v. 16). Jesus has no biological father in the natural sense of the term. To prove the virgin birth, Matthew showed that Jesus was not begotten by a human. The Holy Ghost conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb, making Jesus the Son of God (v. 18) and then fulfilling the prophecy that Christ would be born of a virgin (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:21-23). Matthew’s genealogy commonly used begat. The expression [Greek: gennaó, γεννάω] speaks of the procreation of offspring. The names in Matthew’s genealogy are descendants by procreation. Luke dis not use this expression. Instead, Luke featured the form the son of [Greek: huios, υἱὸς’], meaning child by procreation; however, this meaning permits a wider range of kinship. One does not have to be a son by direct generation. Jesus was thought to be Joseph’s actual son (Luke 3:23). Luke’s genealogy traced Jesus’ lineage back to David through Nathan, the son of Bathsheba, called Bathshua (1 Chron 3:1, 5). Jesus had a biological link to King David through His mother. On the other hand, Jesus only had a legal link through Joseph.


Matthew’s presentation of the genealogy of Jesus Christ is unique. He presented Jesus as the Messiah, King of Israel foretold in Scripture. He identified Jesus with the two major covenants God made with Abraham and David. As the promised descendant of both men, Jesus is the Son who fulfills both covenants so that both Jews and Gentiles could be blessed with eternal redemption. Against the Jewish custom of women absent in a man’s genealogy, Matthew recorded the mother of Jesus and four women. Though four of these women have questionable pasts, one sees this as message of God’s grace. Also, the author’s mention of some of Israel’s greatest men and their failures are a testimony to God’s mercy and His willingness to restore sinners and fulfill covenant promises.

Next, this genealogy presented the New Testament truth that the Gentiles also would become part of the family of God. God’s grace has made the new birth a reality for all nations. This fulfilled the promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed in his seed, Jesus Christ. The gaps in Matthew’s genealogy serve as a reminder that every name was not needed, but the recorded connections identify Jesus as David’s royal heir. The apparent distinction between the way Matthew and Luke list descendants is unique. While begat speaks to biological descent, son of can have a more remote relationship (son-in-law, grandson, etc. speak to this fact). When Matthew arrives to Joseph in his genealogy, the author took care that his words did not obscure one of Christianity’s most important truths, the virgin birth of Christ. Luke’s genealogy identified the Son of God with the human race. Uniquely, the virgin birth makes Jesus a part of the human race. His coming would deliver us from sin, its curse and death by taking these things upon Himself. The Holy Ghost imparts to us all the blessings of eternal life that Jesus died and rose for us to have (Gal 3:13-14). This genealogy was a powerful witness then and is to us today.

Pastor Daryl Cox 12.5.20

For full article see

Reprinted from All Nations Leadership Institute, Jesus Across the Gospels

The Matthean Portrait of the King


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Advent Day 6

The Gospel authors centered their accounts on the revelation of God in Christ. It made their witness both scriptural and undeniable before an unbelieving world. Without God becoming man to die for humanity’s sins, He could not fulfill His redemptive purposes. Each Gospel’s view overlaps one to the other for interaction and account clarity. Matthew presented Jesus as a King-Servant, while Mark showed Him as a Son-Servant of the Lord. Luke testified Jesus as both Savior and Son of man. John concluded by proclamation and exposition, Jesus is the Son of God, God and man. As each account declared, His life’s purpose was to die and rise for sinners. Each book regardless of its perspective, leads to His crucifixion and resurrection. Mark’s Servant, although presented as King in Matthew, died; Luke’s Man, also called the Son of God in John, suffered crucifixion. The authors did not give a complete biography of His life. Instead, they presented a complete scriptural portrait of Jesus Christ, proclaiming His Gospel and forming the basis of New Testament writing and doctrine.


Matthew: Jesus, the King-Servant

Matthew wrote his Gospel to Jewish believers calling it the book of Jesus’ genealogy (Matt 1:1). It traces Jesus’ descent and describes His life based on Scripture. Proclaiming Him King of Israel, Matthew ancestrally linked Jesus to King David and Abraham through Joseph, Mary’s husband, revealing the two great covenants God established with them. This identified Jesus as David’s seed, Israel’s promised King (Davidic Covenant) and Abraham’s son in whom all nations would be blessed with salvation (Abrahamic Covenant).

The Davidic and Abrahamic covenants present Christ’s first and second comings (Gen 22:18; 2 Sam 7:11-14). His first coming brought Abraham’s promised blessing of justification for everyone by crucifixion. His return will bring kingdom establishment and blessing for Israel and all nations. Matthew thoroughly confirmed Jesus’ kingship throughout his Gospel with teachings, miracles, prophecy fulfillment, along with statements and acts of authority; however, Jesus did not fulfill His reign. Instead, Israel in unbelief, rejected their king and crucified Him so God’s promised blessing in Abraham’s son will come to all nations by faith through the Holy Ghost (Gal 3:13-15).

Matthew’s addition of Jesus’ virgin birth account to His genealogy gave essential significance to His identity. It revealed Abraham and David’s seed as the Lord God of Israel in flesh and why so many Scriptures came to fulfillment (Matt 1:21-23). Being literally Emmanuel, God with us as man, Jesus’ kingship had divine honor and authority—not human, although He descended from David and Abraham.

Matthew fashioned his writing with a kingdom emphasis affirming Jesus as Messiah-King, but midway through his narration he transitioned presenting Jesus as Jehovah’s Servant (12:15-21; Isa 42:1). Using Isaiah’s prophecy in light of Israel’s initial rejection, Matthew guided his narration of Christ, the obedient Servant, to His final rejection by Israel while continuing a literary emphasis on God’s kingdom. In obedience, the rejected King postpones Israel’s messianic kingdom for humanity’s salvation (Matt 21:43). Along with kingdom emphasis, Matthew presented the continuous theme of redemption. Before Christ comes to reign, He will give Jews and Gentiles an opportunity to enter His kingdom.

Pastor Daryl Cox


(Excerpt from Jesus Across the Gospels: A Portrait of Who Jesus Is)