Archive for the ‘Israel 2013’ Category



You could see him from 100 yards or more. How could you miss him, his body swollen to its limit due to a retention of excessive fluids. So it is not surprising that Dr. Luke alone records this brief narrative (Luke 14:7-11). The condition of “dropsy,” with a man’s body all puffed up, provided our Lord and Luke a graphic illustration of pride and arrogance in the religious leaders of their day–and, dare we say, of the religious leaders of our own day as well. Perhaps that’s why the Apostle Paul, Dr. Luke’s traveling companion and fellow-theologian, also made use of the same illustration, applying it to all of us, not just to church leaders: “Knowledge puffs up [makes arrogant], but love builds up [edifies]” (1 Cor. 8:1, Gr.).

So there we have it: Are we puffed up or built up? Or better: Are we puffed up (arrogant) or are we building up (edifying) others? Unapplied “knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1, NASB). While in Israel (or in most places), it’s easy to find a ton of knowledge expounded by recognized scholars. But, along with it, a ton of arrogance as well: from the Muslim world, from the Jewish world, and surprisingly, from the Christian world also, even the Evangelical world! A few days ago I had a brief discussion with a young Ph.D. student at a world recognized university. Boy was he smart! And he made sure I knew it. There is no one as smart as a young (!) Ph.D. student. As my former mentor, Dr. Howard Hendricks, used to say, “It takes four years to get a Th.M. degree from Dallas Seminary, and then four more years to get over it, so that God can then use you!” Take it from a former young scholar, how true it was (is)! I’m so glad I’m no longer young; I almost said “no longer arrogant.” But if I said that, I would be admitting that I’m arrogant, right? But all of you who have had the privilege of making my acquainting, know, of course, that I’m not an arrogant man, right?

So how can we deal with the spiritual symptoms that culminate in the illness of arrogance? In other words, how do we take our growing knowledge repository and keep it from spilling over into the disease of pride? The answer is simple, both in theory and practice: “Knowledge makes arrogant [puffs up], but love edifies [builds up]” (1 Cor. 8:1). First, aim on loving God. How? Through our own commitment and obedience to Him and His Word (1 Cor. 8:2-3; cf. Matt. 22:34-40). And second, focus on loving others, especially “those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10). How? Through our own sacrificial Christlike service for others (1 Cor. 8:4-13; cf. Matt. 20:25-28).

And, yes the Lord Yeshua did heal the puffed up man, even on the Sabbath. In other words, the Great Physician depuffed him. Don’t you think He can still do the same for us today?

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There’s is something special about the Lord’s Supper, at least there is supposed to be. After all, the Lord Himself did say to “do this in remembrance of [Him]” (Luke 22:19f.; 1 Cor. 11:24-25). And His chief follower, the Apostle Paul, added these significant words, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). So when we celebrate the communion of the Lord’s Supper in the present, we look to His past death for us and we look to His future return for us as well. In other words, like a great biblical suspension bridge, the Lord’s Supper reaches back to the cross and points forward to the crown: His cross and His crown. And we share in both. How often we forget.

Like the Lord who shared His last supper with His friends, our Israel 2013 Group once again shared the communion with Him, as His friends. And friends with one another! What a time of worship. What a time of joy. What a way to conclude our study tour. And, of course, it helped that we shared it at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, the so-called Protestant site of the burial and resurrection of the Lord Himself. Even if this were not the actual historical burial place of the Lord, it certainly was this kind of burial place where He was laid to rest in a first century garden tomb: a new rich man’s rock hewn tomb, a rolling stone to seal off the entrance, an olive press in a lovely private garden, a huge water cistern (Matt. 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-55; John 19:38-42; etc.).

Of course, it is not so much the place or the persons, is it? It is THE PERSON! For He is risen forever more! And so are we! We must never forget! So celebrate the Lord’s Supper in your own garden, wherever it might be. And remember: “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (Matt. 28:6). Don’t forget!

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I drove into the mall at Netanya. The entry machine popped out my payment stub. I found a parking place and began my people-watching journey through the mall for the next two hours. Being worn out from the Israeli people-play, I headed down to the payment machine, pulled out my wallet, dropped in my shekels, and received my exit receipt. Then I headed out to the underground parking lot to find my car. But guess what? I couldn’t find my car! And after three laps through the Level 3 Parking Lot, I still couldn’t find my car! So what then? Of course, back to the underground elevator to try Level 2. And there it was. My little lost wallet–laying on the floor in front of the payment machine, ten feet from the elevator. All by itself. No one near or far, just my little lost wallet. “Oh, thank you Lord! You lost my car so I could find my wallet! You not only care about the big things, but You also care about the small things.” “. . . for all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27b). Oh by the way, I found my car on Level 2.

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This is David, Barry’s son. Dad asked me to post up some of the pictures from our day today. Today was a full of exploring the old city. We covered a lot of ground including: a visit to the the Cardo, a stop at the Western Wall and the southern steps of the 2nd period Temple where Jesus & the Apostles walked. After that we shot over and had lunch at one of my dad’s favorite hole-in-the-wall spots – The Green Door {in the Arab Quarter}. Once our stomach’s were full we took a taxi cab up to the top of the Mount of Olives and then walked down the same path that Jesus took during his triumphal entry. As we reached the bottom we took some time at the Garden of Gethsemane and then jumped in a taxi and drove over to St. Stephens Gate (aka The Lion’s Gate) where we walked down the Via Dolorosa. Our final visit was to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Here are some pictures from our travels today:

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