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A Passport to Heaven

Credentials are defined as evidence of authority, status, and rights. Anyone who possesses the proper credentials in life are given access to or are entitled to special privileges that exist depending upon your position, rank or title. At some point in his life, Jesus was recognized as a magician, rabbi and teacher despite not having an earthly degree in any of these areas. This reputation enabled Jesus to converse, discuss and meet with a wide range of individuals. During the first century, a rich young ruler approached Jesus searching for a passport to heaven.

A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone, Luke 18:18-19.

A first century doctor recounts the dialogue between these two men in the passage above and below.  Based upon what was written, it appears that this ruler believed that heaven was something that could be earned.  Jesus nips this mindset in the butt, informing any who could hear that only God is good.  Jesus transitions into a different direction, taking a spiritual inventory of this young man’s past.  This discussion led to knowing and practicing the ten commandments.  Like a counselor listening to their patient, Jesus noticed one thing lacking within this ruler.  Financial success led this man to rely on money rather than fully trust the Lord to provide.  At the end of their conversation, this rich young ruler walks away disappointed, unable to meet the credentials necessary for a passport to heaven.

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk],” Luke 18:22-23.

In a previous conversation with his own disciples, Jesus provides further insight into the credentials necessary to receive a passport to heaven.  Jesus gives those who seek to become a modern day disciple three ultimatums.  First, deny yourself by setting aside selfish ambitions.  Second, take up your cross through a willingness to endure whatever may come in the form of persecution.  Third, follow Jesus, by believing, conforming and emulating the life of Christ.  If you have to summarize these requirements to receive a passport to heaven, you must be willing to lose your life, surrendering it completely, to find eternal life.

by Jay Mankus


The Healer and the Healee

News of any sort of biblical healing today will leave skeptics wondering, “that can’t be true, can it?”  In the past, many who have claimed to be the healee only experience temporary healing, with the conditions, illness or symptoms returning sometime after their miraculous encounter.  However, in recent years an outbreak of testimonies are coming in from all over the world from the healer and the healee.

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. Mark 10:46.

In the days of Jesus, a particular individual sets the scene for a special day.  Unable to see, Bartimaeus appears to have relied on pity to make a living, similar to those who stand at crowded intersections asking for money.  Yet, when news of Jesus’ arrival came, he refused to stay in his hapless state.  Yelling out despite the naysayers, Bartimaeus’ cries touched Jesus’ heart.  A desperate man filled with an unswerving faith opened the door for permanent healing.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see,” Mark 10:51.

In my own circumstances, I often doubt that God can transform my situation.  Thus, instead of experiencing healing, I tend to become the complainer or complainee.  If only I possessed the faith of Bartimaeus, things would be different.  However, as for now, I’m grasping for the resurrection power made available by the Holy Spirit.  Though the apostle Paul teaches not everyone will be healed, 2 Corinthians 12:7-12, I’m waiting for the day I meet the healer and experience permanent healing.

by Jay Mankus

2 + 5 = 12

Sure, if you want to get technical about it, 2 + 5 does equal 7.  However, when a growing number of youth sports organizations refuse to keep score, why can’t everyone win.  Meanwhile, school districts in Texas are following a similar pattern, not giving letter grades to prevent students from suffering low self-esteem.  In this age of political correctness, for today’s blog, 2 + 5 = 12.

Believe it or not, there are conditions and circumstances when 2 + 5 does indeed equal 12.  In fact, when you enter God into this equation like algebra, this answer can be clearly proven.  For example, one day Jesus tried to feed roughly 5,000 men, plus additional women and children not accounted for in John 6:10.  Testing the faith of his 12 disciples, Jesus attempts to take the resources set aside for 12 disciples and feed the masses of people surrounding them  on a mountain side.

Philip, likely an accountant, begged to differ with Jesus, throwing out the cost to feed this many people, John 6:7.  Andrew, a little more optimistic takes a quick inventory, discovering 5 loaves of barley bread and 2 small fish, John 6:9.  Based upon this verse, the more Andrew thought about it, the less confident he becomes.  Everything changes when you add Jesus into this problem.  Similar to a communion performed by a rabbi, priest or pastor, Jesus breaks the fish and bread, giving thanks to God above.  After the people were full, Jesus sent the disciples around to collect the basket of leftovers.  Amazingly, 2 small fish plus 5 loaves of barley bread results in 12 baskets provided by the Bread of Life, John 6:48.

by Jay Mankus

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