The Power of Crowds - May 2021

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on June 02, 2021

Crowds can be comforting as others gather around you and support you. Crowds can be terrifying when they get violent and destructive. 
 
The power of crowds comes to my mind as I read our lessons for today: 1 Chronicles 12-14 and Luke 11:27-54.
 
1 Chronicles 12 names people in the crowd who came to David’s side. What a great reminder for us. We are part of a huge crowd gathering around our Savior in faith. No one knows everyone’s name, except the LORD himself. He knows you and how you serve him. “Your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
 
1 Chronicles 13 reminds us that our God is not overwhelmed with crowds. A crowd of people were going to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. But King David ignored God’s commands, and the crowd was stopped in its tracks. Just because we are part of a huge crowd does not make us right. Let us humbly seek the LORD’s will.  
 
1 Chronicles 14 reminds us that the LORD can overcome crowds. When the Philistines twice attacked Jerusalem, the LORD gave King David victory over those Philistine crowds in the Valley of Rephaim.
 
In Luke 11:27-54, the crowds are increasing around Jesus. He does not change his message to win the crowds over to himself. Instead, he uses Old Testament history to call the crowds to repentance and to humbly receive him as the promised Savior.
 
Some simple apologetics (Defense of the Faith)
 
On a trip to Israel, as we were traveling south out of Jerusalem five or six miles to Bethlehem, I realized we were going through the Valley of Rephaim, ancient Jerusalem’s breadbasket. A powerful reminder to me that as we read the Battles of Rephaim in 1 Chronicles 14, we are reading history just as real and true as the Battle of Gettysburg in the US.
 
Public speakers often use the same theme over and over. Jesus did too. In Luke 11:37-52, Jesus uses sermon themes that he will later repeat on Tuesday of Holy Week in Jerusalem (Matthew 23). A reminder that Luke and Matthew are independent witnesses to Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection. They are not simply repeating each other.  
 
Finally, Jesus’ passing reference to “the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” (Luke 11:51) is significant. Abel’s death is recorded in Genesis 4, the first book of the Bible. Zechariah’s death is recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21. The Hebrew Old Testament has a different order of books than our English translation. 2 Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew order. Jesus mentions the first martyr and the last martyr in the Hebrew Old Testament. This is significant because the apocryphal book 2 Maccabees, which is not part of the Hebrew Old Testament, would have Eleazar as the last martyr. (Read 2 Maccabees 6 here.) This is an indication that Jesus was using the same Hebrew Old Testament as we do. The Books of Maccabees, though containing interesting history, were not used by the Savior as part of the inspired text. This, along with the fact that every book of the Hebrew Old Testament with the exception of Song of Solomon is quoted or referenced in the New Testament, and none of the Apocryphal books are quoted or referenced, is a strong reassurance that we are using the same Old Testament as Jesus did.

God bless your reading of His Inspired Word today. 

Pastor Pete 

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