October 26, 2012
In Mark 12:1-11, in the final week of Jesus’ ministry, He told the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (Mark 12:1-11). The vineyard Owner sent a servant to His vineyard for fruit at the proper season. He did not receive fruit; instead, the vinedressers took the servant, beat him, and sent him away empty. Then He sent another servant, at whom they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully. Again, He sent another and him they killed. The same treatment happened to other servants sent to the vineyard.
The Owner had one Son. His Beloved Son. The Owner sent Him also. They killed Him and cast Him out of the vineyard!
What vineyard owner would do this? None! But what no one else would do is what God did! He sent His servants, the prophets, again and again to His people. They were treated shamefully; some were killed. Last of all He sent His Son! They killed the Son also, without knowing that His death was the means of our salvation from our sins.
Our photo shows a vineyard at Lachish, with a vinedresser pruning and trimming the vines. This gives the setting for the parable of the text.
Vinedresser working in vineyard at Lachish in Israel. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
This photo was originally a 35 mm slide taken in 1999.
We have had a wonderful 6-day meeting at Trilacoochee, Fl., near Dade City, presenting a series of 9 biblical lessons. My good friend Bob Waldron is the local evangelist who works with the congregation here.
October 24, 2012
Joppa, an ancient Mediterranean harbor of Canaan, was the geographical setting for several events in biblical history.
When Solomon was to construct the temple, the king of Tyre offered, “We will get all the timber you need from Lebanon and bring it in raft-like bundles by sea to Joppa. You can then haul it on up to Jerusalem.” (2 Chron. 2:16, NET).
Joppa was again used in this same manner when the second temple was rebuilt (Ezra 3:7). It’s about 35 miles from Joppa to Jerusalem.
Joppa figures in with the narrative of Jonah, who, when God told him to preach to Nineveh, “Instead, Jonah immediately headed off to Tarshish to escape from the commission of the LORD. He traveled to Joppa and found a merchant ship heading to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went aboard it to go with them to Tarshish far away from the LORD” (Jonah 1:3, NET).
In NT times, there were disciples of Christ at Joppa. It was here that Peter raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-43). Peter remained at Joppa for “many days” (Acts 9:43) and was there when the Gentile Cornelius, a Roman centurion stationed at Caesarea, sent for him, that he could hear the Gospel message of salvation (Acts 10; 11:1-18; see esp. 11:14).
Joppa, ancient harbor on Israel’s coast. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
This photo of Joppa was taken in 1999, a 35mm slide which I had digitalized.
I posted an aerial photo of Joppa here.
October 9, 2012
We read in Joshua 10:29,30:
29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. 30 The LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho.
We had the occasion last year to visit Tel Burna, in Israel’s Shephelah, a location which many believe to be biblical Libnah.
Tel Burna, believed to be biblical Libnah. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
The Tel Burna Excavation Project is devoted to this site and may be viewed here.
Another biblical reference to Libnah is found in 2 Kgs. 19:8, contextually speaking of the Assyrian invasion of Judah, 701 BC: “Then Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish.”
October 4, 2012
I never tire of reading John 4, which narrates Jesus’ stop at Jacob’s well as He left Judea and was en route to Galilee. This was early in Jesus’ ministry, prior to the Galilean ministry. On this occasion He skillfully led an unnamed woman from the mundane task of coming to draw water, to a point of faith in Him as the Messiah. Additionally, it turned out that there were many in the area that became believers in him.
At nearby Mt. Gerizim, the mountain referenced by the woman as the place where the Samaritans worshiped (v.20), there is today the Samaritan Museum. There one can see a painting that points back to that day recorded in John’s Gospel.
Painting depicting Jesus and the Samaritan Woman of John 4. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
We are currently in Canada, speaking in a 6-day meeting at Jordan, Ontario.