This morning I have been reflecting on the criticisms that Jesus faced from the Pharisees as He went about His daily life and ministry. Here are three…
1. He Blasphemed – Jesus often said to people that their sins were forgiven. The Pharisees could not stand this as only God alone could forgive sins (Mark 2:6-7). And they did not believe Jesus was God in human form.
2. He kept bad company – Jesus spent a lot of time with people who the ruling Jews would not be seen dead with. He dined with them, taught them, healed them and befriended them. He even spent time in their homes.
3. He went against traditions – Jesus did things on the Sabbath that a normal Jew or Pharisee would not do. He was mindful of doing things the right way, but always focussed on helping people too.
The people who could not see Jesus for who He was, struggled and criticised Him and His ways. They didn’t understand what He was trying to do.
I am still reflecting on Elijah and his impact on his nation. Today I want to look at the prayer he prayed in 1 Kings 18:36-37. It says…
“36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham,Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you,Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
What was the result of this prayer? Fire fell from heaven and consumed the offerings that was soaked in water. This was something that over 850 false prophets of Baal and Asherah could not do by praying to their false gods.
What I love about this prayer is that it was simple and it was aimed at showing God is the true God and turning the hearts of the people back to God.
Perhaps we could pray along these lines when conducting a public meeting aimed at glorifying God and turning peoples hearts back to Him.
I was thinking about Elijah and his great ability for Maths this morning. It must have been his favourite subject at school.
Think about these sums that Elijah knew…
450 prophets of Baal + 400 prophets of Asherah + false gods = no miracle
Compare this to…
One Prophet who trusted God + An all powerful God = miraculous event + people turning back to God.
Elijah knew that God plus one faithful person equals a huge majority! Let’s remember this today.
This week a verse from the New Testament book of James has been rolling around in my Spirit. It has been my constant companion and I have been meditating on it.
James 5:17 is the verse. It says, “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” Verse 18 goes on to say that again he prayed and it began to rain and the earth began to produce crops.
The highlighted part about Elijah being a man like us (NIV1984) or Elijah was a human being, just as we are (NIV2011) has been speaking to me over and over.
Elijah, one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament… Elijah who had an extraordinary close relationship with God… Elijah who defeated over 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (1 King 18:16-45)… is a man just like us!
These are amazing words to me. A mighty man of God who did so many amazing things, is a man (or human being) just like us. I really think that as Christians we grasp this and really believe it deep down inside us, then we will truly make a huge impact for God in this world.
Elijah was no superhero. He was a human being made of flesh and blood. However, the Bible tells us that he was a righteous man who “prayed earnestly” (James 5:17).
The challenge to me from this verse is to live as a righteous man and pray earnestly, and then carry the Elijah spirit with me… after all, he was a man like me.