Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

The Burning Heart

The women, including Mary Magdalene and some others listed in Luke 24:10,  were the first to meet Jesus early Sunday morning after He had risen from the dead. Jesus’ twelve disciples had been known as “The Twelve”.  With Judas now dead, they became known as “The Eleven”, as we see in Luke 24:9. Later on in the Book of Acts Matthias was added by lot to bring the number back up to twelve, and they were once again referred to as The Twelve.

Though referred to as “The Eleven” here in John 20, we learn from John 20 that of “The Eleven”  only ten were gathered together Resurrection morning.  Thomas was too discouraged and disheartened to be there that morning. He would meet Jesus a week later. That very emotional meeting with Jesus is described in John 20:26-29.

 Note from Luke 24:9 that with “The Eleven” were some other followers of Christ and they are referred to in verse 9 as “all the rest”.  These were gathered in a secret place together that first Easter morning, for fear of the Jews who had just crucified their Messiah.

Two of those listed in Luke 24:9,  Cleopas and another, finally decided to leave Jerusalem and return to their home in Emmaus, about sixty furlongs, or seven miles northwest of the city. It would be about a two to three hour walk back home.

As the two began their walk back to Emmaus, discouraged and confused, they were suddenly joined by a stranger who overheard and observed their discouragement. He began to ask them some questions concerning their depressing demeaner.  Basically, He was asking them why they were so sad and depressed.  

The two were amazed by His seeming ignorance of all that had taken place the last few days:  Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem,  His violent, but controlled, cleansing of the temple and  His trial and crucifixion.

Cleopas and his friend continued talking to the Stranger.  You can read the full response to the Stranger’s question concerning their depression in Luke 24:13-24. Certainly by now, you are convinced that this stranger was none other than Jesus.  But take note that Jesus did not identify Himself to the two disciples as they walked those seven miles.  That would come later in Emmaus.

Note also that Jesus did not appear in His blazing glory, as He did  earlier on the Mount of Transfiguration to Peter, James and John.  Rather, He appeared as a very ordinary man.  Earlier that morning, Mary Magdalene mistook Him for the gardener.  Actually their eyes had been prevented from recognizing Jesus until He chose to reveal His identity.

At this time along the road to Emmaus, He had something much more important to teach them which could best be taught if they did not recognize Him.  If they had recognized Him at this point, they would have been so star struck that they would have missed what He wanted to teach them.

From the Old Testament, beginning with the Pentateuch written by Moses under the inspiration of God, and continuing with all the Prophets,  Jesus gave to Cleopas and his friend, a survey of the Old Testament, pointing out many of the prophecies concerning Himself, showing them from these Old Testament Scriptures the many references to His death by crucifixion and his bodily resurrection the third day.  Two of those references He, no doubt,  dwelt on were Psalm 22  and Isaiah 53.   But beyond that, He would have shown them that He is the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 and the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12  and 17.   and the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant of II Samuel 7; as well as so many other Old Testament Messianic references.

By the time they arrived in Emmaus,  their minds were swimming in their new-found knowledge of the Bible and their hearts were about bursting with joy in their new-found understanding and joy of seeing  Christ prophesied in the Old Testament.

As they arrived in Emmaus,  Jesus appeared to be continuing his journey. Cleopas and his friend, insisted that they stop at their home for supper and to sleep for the night.  Jesus, seeing their desire and hunger for more Scriptural truth, accepted their invitation to enter their home.

At the dinner table, it tells us in Luke 24:30 that He took the initiative and  broke bread and shared it with them.   In so doing the light began to dawn.  They recognized that their Bible teacher and companion was none other than Jesus Himself, alive from the dead.  It doesn’t say so, but they, no doubt, noticed the nail holes from the crucifixion  in His hands.  Regardless, God now gave them a divine recognition of Jesus and with that recognition, Jesus, in His glorified resurrection body, disappeared from their sight.

Here’s the point I want you to see from verse 32.  It was not the physical appearance of Jesus that thrilled their hearts, though I do not want to belittle that thrill.  Rather, it was a recognition of Jesus throughout the Old Testament.  This was something that they had never seen before.

Let me make an important point here.  That which causes our hearts to burn with love and joy are not the dreams and visions we have of Christ. It’s not our emotional worship experiences.  It’s not the super-star preachers who impress us with their presence. The burning heart experience has little or nothing to do with our feelings.  Rather the reality that will cause our hearts to burn in love and joy will be our understanding and recognition of Jesus seen throughout the Old Testament as the prophesied and typified Messiah and Saviour.

This is something the nation Israel did not recognize two thousand years ago when they crucified Jesus.  That spiritual blindness continues to this day; not only with Israel, but with people from all the nations of the world, including America.

Spiritual blindness continues in any heart that has not yet seen Jesus as the Son of God who was crucified for our sins and raised from the dead three days later for our justification.

Until we understand what David wrote in Psalm 40:7-8; the Bible will be a dry, boring book to us.  Jesus will be just another religious man who died for his cause and that will never change our lives.   But when we read in Psalm 40:7-8 “Lo, I come, in the volume of the book, (The Old Testament) it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God” and when we see that this was written of Jesus; our hearts will be set on fire with love and joy for Jesus our Saviour and Lord.  

When this truth overwhelmed Cleopas and his friend, immediately after Jesus had disappeared, those two disciples turned around and walked those seven miles back to Jerusalem in the dark, for by now, the sun was setting.  They headed back to that secret gathering place of the disciples to share with them the Good News.

What was that Good News?  That Jesus Christ was alive and they had seen Him.  But even more thrilling and life-changing than that, they rejoiced that since Jesus had opened the Old Testament Scriptures to them, that now it all made sense.   Their hearts were burning with their understanding and recognition of Jesus throughout the Scriptures.

That’s what causes our hearts to burn and rejoice. It’s not that we experienced a feeling of excitement and worship in a worship concert. It’s  not that we were wowed by seeing and hearing a famous preacher; but that we now have a recognition and understanding of Jesus who is God the Creator in a man, and that He died for our sins and was raised from the dead the third day and that He lives in Heaven. Our hearts burn with joy and excitement as we see Jesus who is the center and purpose of the whole Bible

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on The Burning Heart

Witness of the Women

Each of the four Gospels describe details of Jesus’ Resurrection as the writers saw it. Each of them is inspired of God and therefore without error or contradiction.  Each of them deal with critical truths concerning His Resurrection.

1. The empty tomb and the undisturbed grave wrapping

2. The testimony of the women rejected by the Apostles

3. The testimony of the Jewish leaders, enemies of Christ,  who bribed the

    Roman guards to spread a lie.

THE EMPTY TOMB

 

Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb first very early that Sunday morning while it was still dark.  Finding the heavy stone rolled away she looked in and found the tomb empty and surmised that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.  John 20

Immediately she returned to her friends, Peter and John and informing them  of the awful news.  The three immediately returned, running to the sepulchre. 

John, younger, arrived there first and looked in, considering carefully what he saw.  Jesus body was indeed gone. The grave clothes that had been wrapped around him like a cocoon were still undisturbed and intact.  The linen cloth that had covered His face was now folded neatly in its place.  His resurrected body had  obviously passed through the grave clothes leaving them totally undisturbed.

Peter, a little older, finally arrived at the tomb and immediately rushed in and saw what John had just seen.  John followed Peter into the tomb and as the facts settled into his mind,  he believed that Jesus was indeed alive and risen from the grave.  Then the two men, having seen the evidence and were settled that Jesus was alive, left the tomb and returned home.

Mary Magdalene continued there alone, stooping down and peering into the empty tomb, weeping uncontrollably in sorrow for her missing Friend, As she looked, she saw two angels in white sitting: one at the head of the slab and the other at the foot of the slab where Jesus had lain.  They spoke to her, “Woman, why weepest thou?”

She replied to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him.”

At that moment she sensed someone standing behind her.  Turning around she saw through her tears a man standing, but did not recognize Him as Jesus.  He spoke to her, “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? 

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

At that point, Jesus spoke her name,  “Mary!” Immediately she looked into His face, recognizing Him and with great joy addressed Him,  “Rabonni”  “Master!” 

As she reached out to grab hold of His feet, Jesus cautioned her, “Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father.  But go to my brethren and say unto them,  ‘I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”

THE TESTIMONY OF THE WOMEN

 

With that, He vanished and Mary Magdalene immediately rushed to the place where she knew she would find the disciples and shared the good news with them.

A little later in the morning before dawn, several other women, friends of Jesus, arrived at the tomb:  Mary, the mother of James and Joses,  and Salome, the wife of Zebadee and the mother of another James and John. Luke also mentions Mary Magdalene, although she had come earlier to the tomb.  These women also found the tomb empty and reported what they saw to the disciples of Jesus; who when they heard their testimony, rejected it as mere gossip and visions of their imaginations.  Luke 24:1-11

THE TESTIMONY OF THE JEWISH LEADERS, ENEMIES OF CHRIST, WHO BRIBED THE ROMAN GUARDS TO SPREAD A LIE

 

In Matthew 28:11-15 we have the story of the Roman guards reporting to the Jewish religious leaders what had happened at the tomb.  The leaders, intent on covering up the facts of His obvious resurrection, bribed the Roman soldiers to spread the lie that His disciples had come during the night while the Roman soldiers slept, pushed aside the heavy rock, breaking the Roman seal and stolen the body of Jesus- all of that without waking up the soldiers. 

What a preposterous lie they concocted! Imagine the disciples being willing to suffer and die for the truth of the Gospel when secretly they knew it was all a lie!  No one would purposely die for a lie!

HOW IMPORTANT ARE WOMEN TO GOD?

 

Would you note something very interesting about the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus?   Only women were witnesses of Jesus death, burial and resurrection.

HIS DEATH

True, the Roman soldiers and the Jewish masses of people all saw Jesus die; but as far as Jesus friends are concerned, only the women witnessed His death.  The disciples of Jesus had fled.  John, the beloved disciples had been sent home with Jesus’ mother, Mary.  a little while before Jesus’ death.   Of Jesus’ friends, only the women watched Him die.

HIS BURIAL

 

True,  Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, secret followers of Christ, were involved in burying Jesus.  But it was the women; not the disciples, who were involved in bringing spices for His burial. 

HIS RESURRECTION

 

On Sunday morning,  the women were the first to go to the tomb and discover that it was empty.  Jesus’ body was gone.  It was the women who heard the angels and Jesus Himself  announce His resurrection. According to Luke 24:11, the Disciples rejected their news as idle tales and nonsense. They would not believe the women.

CONSIDER THIS

 

As Eve, the first woman,  influenced her husband Adam to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and women have to this day borne the stigma of leading the human race into the sin of rebellion against God  (even though God held the man, Adam, and not his wife Eve responsible for leading the human race into sin. Romans 5:12-19 

I Corinthians 15:22)

So God has in His love for women, allowed women to have a major part in the redemption of the human race from the curse of sin. 

It was Mary, a humble young virgin woman,  who was given the high honor of  supernaturally conceiving and bearing the body of Jesus, God in human flesh, who eventually died and rose again for the redemption of  repentant sinners. 

And it was women who had the privilege of witnessing the death of Jesus, His burial and His Resurrection, announcing it to the disciples.

I TIMOTHY 2:8-15

 

In Paul’s instruction to men and women found in this difficult passage, we learn how their stigma of having a major influence of bringing sin and its curse into the world is reversed by child bearing.  Follow with me here.

In verse 8, first the men are instructed to lift up holy hands in prayer. The emphasis here is not so much on the posture nor the position of the hands as it is that men should be living holy lives as they approach God in prayer.

Then in verse 9-12 women are instructed, of all things, as to how to wear their hair and how to dress when they come to church and what part they should have in the worship services.  They are instructed to be modest in their hair and dress styles, so they do not unduly call attention to their appearance and thus draw away attention from God in worship.  Also they are instructed to not teach men nor lead churches.

So how does a woman reverse the stigma she brought on herself by leading her husband into the sin of disobeying God?  She reverses that stigma by learning in silence and by her tremendous influence in bearing raising and training children for the glory of God.  As I’ve said before repeatedly, it was women, mostly single women, who had the most godly influence in my life as a child.  I am the preacher I am today because of the godly influence of single, as well as married women primarily.

I believe this is what Paul is saying in I Timothy 2:15 when it says, “she shall be saved in childbearing.”   It’s not that women are saved from their sins by bearing children.  Rather, the stigma she brought on herself in the Garden of Eden by leading her husband into sin is reversed as she bears and influences and trains the next generation of children for God.

August 6, 2010 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Witness of the Women

Foundational Truth

According to Romans 10:9-10 Christ’s Death and  Resurrection are  the foundational truths of salvation.  There is no salvation apart from trusting in Christ, who shed His blood for our sins and rose from the dead for our justification.

The  Resurrection is the heart of Christianity pumping life into the believer.

It motivates us to serve Christ and sacrifice for Him.

Christianity stands or falls on this fundamental doctrine.  If Jesus did not die on the cross and shed His blood for our sins and if He did not rise from the dead on the third day, then Christianity Is just another vain, empty, impotent, worthless human philosophy, not worthy of your consideration and I am a fool for having spent my life as a preacher.  I Corinthians 15:14-19

The Resurrection gives purpose for living and courage to martyrs for Christ

In this study we will consider:

1. Two testimonies to the Resurrection

2. Examine prophecies and types of the Resurrection.

3. And note  five major doctrines of the Christian Faith based on Christ’s Resurrection.

I. TESTIMONIES TO THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

 

1. The Testimony of Christ’s Church

 

The first testimony to the resurrection of Christ is the existence of the church, in spite of vicious attacks and persecution  for over two thousand years.  Jesus said in Matthew 16:15-18 that upon this ROCK, the doctrine of Christ,  He would build His Church and the powers of hell could not stop her progress.

Since Christ rose from the dead  on that first day of the week, the Church has continued to meet for worship and Biblical instruction  on Sundays from the beginning. 

When we baptize, we immerse in water, picturing our burial with Christ and we are raised from the water, signifying our rising to new life with Christ.  Baptism is a picture of what has already taken place in the heart of a believer.  

Victorious Christian living is an ongoing testimony to the power of Christ’s resurrection in our lives.  Read Romans 6-8 for more explanation of this.

2. The Testimony of  the Bible

 

The Scriptural records of Christ Resurrection  are objective testimonies of the truth of the Resurrection.   Recorded in the four Gospels,  the facts of the Resurrection were foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures. Consider the Old Testament prophecies and types of the Resurrection.

II. PROPHECIES AND TYPES

Read Hebrews 11:17-19 with Genesis 22:1-14. These passages speak of Abraham as having  received his son, Isaac,  back from the dead  after offering to kill him in obedience to God’ Word. Of course, God did not allow Abraham to go through with this, but instead provided a substitute sacrifice, a ram caught in the thicket. The point is that it was like a resurrection from the dead, as far as Abraham was concerned. Isaac’s resurrection was a type of the literal resurrection of Jesus  from the dead.

Another type of The Resurrection is that of the nation Israel, presently spiritually dead, dispersed and scattered among the nations of the world. Ezekiel  36-39  and Zechariah 12-14 are some of the most outstanding Old Testament chapters describing the spiritual resurrection (conversion to Christ) of Israel in the latter days.  Already, Israel is coming to spiritual life as many Jews are recognizing Jesus as their Messiah and trusting Him for salvation.

Hosea 6:1-3  is an exciting passage giving us a clear hint as to what is taking place in the world today as far as Israel is concerned.  With a day as a one thousand years and a thousand years as one day (II Peter 3:8)  in the mind of God, we may not be too far from the end of time as we know it.

In Job 19:25-27 Job gives exciting information concerning Christ’s resurrection and our bodily resurrection. Psalm 16:10  and 17:15 clearly prophesy the resurrection of Christ.

Jesus, in Matthew 12:38-40  refers to Jonah 1:17,  teaching us that as Job was three days and three nights in the fish’s belly and then thrown up alive on shore; so Jesus would be three days and three nights in the tomb before He would appear alive to many witnesses.    Go to category PASSION WEEK and read, Jesus, Our Passover Lamb, for further explanation of this prophecy.

Jesus, when dealing with His Disciples, repeatedly referred to His coming death and resurrection.  See Matthew 12:38-40, 17:9, 20:18-19,  Luke 9:20-22, John 5:25-29 and  11:25-26.  Yet their minds were closed to the fact for a few hours, even after Jesus had risen from the dead.

III. DOCTRINES BASED ON THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

 

1. The Resurrection of Christ proves the Deity of Jesus.  Romans 1:4

If Jesus rose from the dead, you can be sure that Jesus is God and what He says is true.

 

2. His Resurrection is the basis for our Justification.  Romans  4:25

If Jesus died on the cross for sin and arose from the dead bodily, then if your trust is in Jesus, you stand justified. That is, you stand in the righteousness of Jesus and you can be certain of Heaven.

 

3. His Resurrection is the basis for our Sanctification. Romans 6:1-5

If Jesus rose from the dead and you are trusting Him, you stand in the resurrection power of Jesus and do not need to be defeated by sin.  I didn’t say you were perfect.  None of us are perfect on this earth; but as a Christian you have the power to live victoriously over sin.

 

4. His Resurrection is the guarantee of our Glorification. Romans 8:11

You can be sure that one day you will be in His presence sinlessly perfect, but not until then.

 

5. His Resurrection insures Divine Judgment  Acts 17:29-34

Because Jesus rose from the dead, you have a judgment date set with God. If you have never been saved, there is no way you can avoid that date.  You will give an account of your life to God and attempt to give Him your reasons for rejecting Him.  The Bible says you will stand silent before Him unable to speak.

On the other hand, if your trust is in Christ as your Saviour, your judgment is past.  Jesus bore it on the cross.  You will never be judged for your sins.

 

Christianity, including these five doctrines, stands or falls on the Resurrection of Jesus.  If Jesus never rose from the dead, you can count on utter, eternal oblivion when you die.  It’s all over.

If, on the other hand, Jesus DID really rise from the dead,  you had better get this matter with Christ settled quickly.  You have no guarantee of another day to think about it.  Get it settled now.  Receive Him or reject Him;  but you cannot ignore Him!

I’ve given you objective evidence from the reliable, inspired Word of God, the Bible; evidence based outside of you.  This evidence has nothing to do with how you feel about the matter. 

If you are a Christian, you have not only objective evidence from the Bible, but subjective evidence from within your heart.  You know He is alive because He walks and talks with you; but that is something you will never experience until you have taken God at His Word.  Read and believe the infallible, inspired Word of God and settle the matter now.

Finish reading these messages under RESURRECTION  and then go to the category SALVATION  and settle this matter before you go to sleep tonight.   This is a matter of life and death.   Eternal Life and eternal death!

 

July 18, 2010 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Foundational Truth

Joys Comes in the Morning

At the Last Supper, Judas left the company of Jesus and His disciples to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver;  “It was night”, John 13:30 records.  As with Judas, so is the darkness of night  and despair for everyone who rejects Christ. In fact, Judas was in such despair that he went out and hung himself, as Acts 1:16-19 so graphically portrays.

 

It would still be night for us sinners, if Jesus had not risen from the dead on the third day,  Thank God for the prophetic truth of Psalm 30:5. “Weeping may endure for a night; but joy cometh in the morning.”   If Jesus had not risen from the dead, as prophesied,  His death would simply be a painful, depressing memory and we would still be benighted,  lost in our sins, doomed to eternal separation from God in hell.

 

But thank God that very early in the morning as it began to dawn the first day of the week,  Jesus arose from the dead in His glorified body, conquering death and the grave.

 

Jesus and Women

 

He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, we read in the John 20 account. Did you get that?  Jesus appeared first to a woman. She had the privilege of sharing the good news with Peter and John. That should settle the issue of Jesus and women forever. Wherever Christianity goes, women are lifted to equality with men. Though men are to lead their families and lead churches, women can enjoy fellowship with Christ and be used to serve Christ as equals with men. When faithful in their proper roles as wives, mothers and teachers of women and children, they have tremendous influence in lives. I can honestly say that single women had perhaps more influence on me while growing up than any man.

 

What did Peter and John see in the empty tomb?

 

When Mary shared with Peter and John the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, they immediately took off running to the tomb to see for themselves. John, the younger disciples, got to the tomb first and looked in; but did not go in. Note what he saw.  He observed the grave clothes lying undisturbed. 

 

Peter, huffing and puffing, soon reached the tomb and without hesitation went into the tomb and he too took note of the grave clothes lying undisturbed and the linen cloth that had been laid across Jesus face, folded and lying neatly near the place where His head had lain. Jesus glorified body had passed through the spice soaked linen wrappings leaving them undisturbed as a butterfly leaves its cocoon. When they saw the linen wrappings and the  empty tomb, they were convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead as He had repeatedly told them while He was with them. The disciples then left the tomb.

 

Mary meets her beloved Saviour and Friend

 

Mary Magdalene stayed there weeping. As she wept, she also stooped and looked into the tomb. There she saw two angels clothed in white sitting; one at the head of the slab where Jesus had lain and the other at the foot. Then they asked Mary why she was weeping. She answered, “Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him.”

 

As she spoke, she sensed someone behind her.  She turned and saw a man through her tears. Thinking he was the gardener, she asked if if she knew where the body had been taken. She continued, “Tell me and I will take him away.”  I’m not sure how she planned to do that and I don’t think she knew either.

 

The stranger then spoke her name, “Mary!” as only Jesus could have spoken it.  Immediately she recognized His voice and His glorified face,  She answered Him, “Rabboni, which interpreted was “Master!”  She now recognized her Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

 

As she reached out to Him, Jesus spoke to her, “Touch Me not. For I am not ascended yet to my Father. But go to My brethren and say unto them, I ascend to My Father and  your Father and to My God and  your God.”  Jesus, God in glorified human flesh, was now teaching us of our new relationship with God.  Through Christ; God, Creator of Heaven and earth, is now our personal God and our personal Heavenly Father.  Through our relationship with Christ, we can approach Him intimately as our own personal Heavenly Father.

 

Mary Magdalene shares the Good News!

 

The conversation was now over and so Mary immediately went to the disciples and shared her meeting with Jesus. Isn’t that interesting that Mary Magdalene was given the privilege of being the first to see and speak to the risen Lord.  She was given the privilege of sharing the good news with the disciples.

 

Don’t think for one moment, what sinful, perverted minds have conceived; that Mary Magdalene and Jesus had an intimate sexual relationship. Rather,  this relationship is one that every believer, male and female,  can enjoy with Jesus, a personal vital living relationship with Jesus, our God, our Saviour, Lord and Friend; the personal relationship that we will enjoy with Jesus and with one another throughout eternity.

 

The Disciples meet the risen Jesus

 

The first Sunday evening, the disciples gathered in a room, perhaps the Upper Room where they had spent their last evening with Jesus before His Kangaroo trial and execution. Thomas, one of the Disciples, was not there. Evidently he was too depressed to be with them.  The doors were shut, probably locked in fear of the Jews who had just crucified their Master. Possibly they feared that they might be next.

 

As they sat together, suddenly the glorified Jesus stood in the room with them, the doors being shut.  In His glorified body, He had passed through the walls right into the room and stood before them. He spoke peace to them to quiet their fears. He commissioned them to go forth with the Good News. Then He breathed on them and announced, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”  I believe that right there each of the disciples received the Holy Ghost. 

 

Fifty days later at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down on them and with all those who had gathered with them and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and were united into the Body of Christ and empowered to serve Him.  Thus began Christ’s Church.

 

Doubting Thomas meets Jesus

 

The following Sunday, after Jesus had met with the ten Disciples. (Judas had hung himself and Thomas had not been there at the first meeting.)  He had announced to them that “Except I shall see in His hands  the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into the wound in His side, I will not believe.!” 

 

This time, the Disciples had convinced Thomas to join them.  Once again Jesus appeared in the room.  He looked at Thomas, knowing his heart just as He knows each of us, and He said to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.

 

Thomas did not have to accept Jesus’ invitation to touch Him physically. Immediately He recognized Jesus and confessed. I think he fell on his knees before Jesus as He confessed, “My Lord and my God!”  It was a powerful, hushed moment in the life of Thomas and, no doubt, in the lives of all in the room. From that moment on, Thomas was a changed man and after Pentecost he was a Spirit filled Apostle, along with the rest of them.

 

How about you?

 

Where do you stand before the resurrected Christ? Are you still in spiritual darkness? Will you this moment confess Christ as your Saviour, as your Lord and as your God?  When you do your night will be over instantly. Your eternal day will have  begun.

 

I Thessalonians 5:5 speaks to us as Christians, as children of the day. “You are all the children of light and the children of the day: we are not  of the night, nor of darkness.” And then Paul goes on in the rest of the chapter and in all of his Epistles to teach us how to live as Christians.

 

Come to Christ as a sinner. Trust in Him who died on the cross for your sins and rose again to give you eternal life.   Trust Him now and the light will go on in your life. Then spend the rest of your life sharing that Light with all those around you who walk in darkness.

 

April 11, 2009 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Joys Comes in the Morning

Bodily Resurrection of Christ, Foundation of Christianity

Whenever the Bible speaks of resurrection, it always refers to bodily resurrection. Our spirits are eternal. They do not die and need no resurrection; though our bodies do. Our spirits can exist independently of our bodies, and the spirits of those who have died do live today in Heaven or in Hell without their bodies. 

However, our spirits are not complete without our bodies and those who have gone on to Heaven  long to be clothed with their bodies.     We Christians who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, rejoice in the redemption of our souls, but we groan in these bodies so contaminated and cursed by sin. We struggle with the downward pull of temptation to sin. We long for the redemption and glorification of our bodies. Rom. 8:22-23 

Listen to the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-23, who as every genuine Christian, struggles with the downward pull of his fleshly nature.      Listen to his desire in II Corinthians 5:1-8,  reflecting the desire of every true Christian, to die and go to Heaven. Note in this passage that his desire is not just to be a disembodied spirit in Heaven, but his full desire is to be clothed with his glorified body which will take place later at the return of Christ. 

Many have been resuscitated over the years, but only one body has ever been resurrected  from the dead in a glorified state and that is Jesus.  Jesus raised Lazarus and others from the dead, but they were raised  back into their natural bodies to die again later.  

Jesus died a violent death on the cross. His blood was poured out as a sacrifice for our sins, just as lambs were slaughtered as sacrifices for sin throughout the Old Testament. Read Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53 and Hebrews 9:22, and Hebrews 10 to see the connection between the slaughtered lambs and the slaughtered Christ.    

But unlike the lambs that had to be slaughtered continually for the people’s repeated  offenses; Jesus was crucified as the perfect final sacrifice for sin, as Hebrews 9 and 10 declare.  He died; not for His own sins, for He was the sinless, spotless Son of God. He died to pay the death penalty for every sinner. 

No sinner need ever go to hell.  The only reason sinners go to hell is because in their pride and self-righteousness they stubbornly refuse to admit they are sinners who have offended a holy God and they reject Jesus, the only One who can save them.     As one man, Adam, sinned and led the entire human race into sin to face the penalty of death;  so one man, Jesus,  the perfect Son of God in human flesh, took our penalty of death and saves all who receive His atonement by faith alone, giving us eternal life. That’s the message of the Gospel.  

 I Corinthians 15 is the great Resurrection Chapter of the Bible. It shows the absolute necessity of the bodily resurrection of Christ and assures us that His bodily  resurrection guarantees that God is satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and it guarantees the bodily resurrection of every human being one day.    

The order of the Resurrection is given in I Corinthians 15:22-23 and in Revelation 20. 

 Note, that Christ is the first person to rise from the dead. I Corinthians 15:20-23 identifies Jesus as  the first-fruits, the guarantee that the rest will follow.  

 The next group of people to rise from the dead will be Christians who will rise in glorified bodies to meet Jesus when He returns. Read more about that in  John 14:1-3, Romans 8:11,  I Corinthians 15:51-58,  I Thessalonians 4:13-18,  Hebrews 9:28,  Titus 2:11-14,  I John 3:1-3,    Revelation 22:20.   All Christians are  going to share in the First Resurrection, as is explained in Revelation 20:6.   

The final group of people to rise from the dead will be all those who rejected Christ during their lifetime.  Revelation 20:11-15 describes that terrifying final judgment that faces every Christ-rejecter when they will stand in their resurrected, unglorified bodies before Christ’s Great White Throne to be sentenced to the eternal Lake of Fire.

Death before a firing squad, by the electric chair, by the gas chamber,  by hanging or death by lethal injection, or even by beheading, will be as nothing – a few minutes, then it is over- compared to eternal death in the Lake of Fire that awaits every Christ-rejecting sinner.  

Dear Reader, Paul announced to the Athenians  in Acts 17:31 “God has appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man, whom He has ordained, whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead.”  “God has appointed a day!”  That means, the day is set on God’s calendar. 

You need not face that judgment.  Trust Christ who died to pay for your sins.  Receive Him now by faith. He will save you, deliver you from condemnation and impute to you His perfect righteousness. Receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour right now. Simply invite Him into your life. Thank Him for dying for you.  Read and rejoice in the truths of  John 1:12,  3:14-18, 5:24, Romans 5:1-9, 10:1-13, II Corinthians 5:21,   

If you have put your trust in Christ, you will be amazed how all these Scriptures open up to you and come alive. Christ’s Holy Spirit has come to live in you and given you assurance of eternal life. He has become your Teacher and Interpreter of Scripture..  Rejoice and share this good news with others.  Dig into this Hidden Treasures web site with your Bible and explore the wonders of being a Christian.  Ask God to lead you to a Church where you can grow in the knowledge of God and ask Him to protect you from false teaching that would lead you away from God and from His Word.  

Now, let’s continue with our study of the importance of Christ’s resurrection. Let me give you six reasons for rejoicing in His resurrection.    

 

I. Jesus’ Resurrection proves His deity.  

 

In fact, Jesus states in Matthew 12:38-40 that His bodily resurrection after three days and three nights in the tomb, is the one great proof of His Deity. If Jesus rose on Sunday, which He did;  in order to fulfill this specific prophecy, and be in the grave three days and three nights, Jesus had to die on Wednesday and not Friday.  For further information on this event, go back to an earlier study in this RESURRECTON link  to  Jesus, Our Passover Lamb.  Paul also in Romans 1:1-4 confirms the importance of Christ’s  resurrection as the proof that He is the Son of God.

 

II. Jesus’ Resurrection also assures the salvation of all who trust in Him.   

That is taught in I Peter 1:3 and in I Peter 3:18-22.  The  passage in chapter 3, though difficult, basically teaches us that Jesus died and rose again from the dead to save us from our sins and its penalty.  

Some would use this passage to attempt to prove baptismal regeneration; that is, that people are saved by being baptized.  The Bible, on the other hand, clearly teaches that salvation is by the grace of God and through faith in Christ alone.  This is taught in  Ephesians 2:8-10,  Titus 3:5-7,  in the Book of Romans, as well as many Scriptures throughout the New Testament.  In fact, Paul takes pains to show us in I Corinthians 1:11-17 that baptism is NOT part of the Gospel message.  Rather, it is an act of obedience AFTER salvation.   See Acts 8:26-39  and Acts 16:16-34 for examples of this truth.    

I Corinthians 12:13 teaches that all believers in Christ are baptized or united by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. This spiritual baptism has nothing to do with water.      So if I Peter 3:18-22 is not about water baptism, what is it teaching us?

Note I Peter 3:21 begins with the words, “In the light figure”, It could be translated  “corresponding”. As Noah and  his family were delivered from the waters of the flood by entering into the ark; so  salvation is being baptized into Christ, our Ark of safety.  That is a spiritual baptism, taught in I Corinthians 12:13,  whereby the Holy Spirit baptizes us, or unites us into Christ’s Body by God’s grace and through faith in Christ.   

On the other hand, we are instructed in Scripture to be baptized in water as a testimony to the fact that we have been saved.  That’s taught in the Great Commission in Matthew, Mark and Luke.   Throughout Acts, we see examples of believers who were baptized in water as a testimony to their faith in Christ.   However, Paul makes a clear distinction between the Gospel and water baptism in I Corinthians 1:14-17.    

Now let’s take a careful look at I Peter 3:18-22.  As we examine this passage we can draw the following truths.    The flood waters of Noah’s day did not speak of salvation, but of judgment.   

The ark represented salvation. Those in the ark were saved from the judgment of the flood.    Because Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives (a total of eight people) believed God’s warning and built the ark according to God’s specifications and then entered the ark, they alone were saved from the flood that covered the earth and destroyed every human being, animal and bird, except for that which was safely in the ark.  

II Peter 2:5 describes Noah as a preacher of righteousness. For one hundred years crowds of people flocked to watch “Crazy Noah” build his ark to save those who would enter the ark from a coming world wide flood. For one hundred years he warned them of the coming judgment of God upon the world.  They mocked him, laughing about the flood.  What was a flood?  They had never seen one. According to Genesis 2:5-6 it had never rained prior to the flood.  Instead a mist watered the earth.  

We determine the hundred  years in which Noah preached by comparing Genesis 5:32 which shows Noah was 500 years old when his three sons were born.  with Genesis 7:11 that shows Noah was 600 years old when the Flood covered the earth.  Within those 100 years he and his three sons built the ark.   

Finally the ark was completed and God called Noah and his family to enter the ark along with the animals that would be spared to replenish the earth after the flood.   

Now read again I Peter 3:18-22.  Could this refer to Jesus’ Spirit preaching to the people of Noah’s day,  while His body lay in the tomb for three days and three nights? We’ll look at that in a moment. One thing we know for sure.  There is no opportunity for salvation after death.  Hebrews 9:27 states, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.”   

Rather, I Peter 3:18-22 could be  in reference to Christ’s ministry through Noah. The Spirit of God through Noah, preached to the prisoners of sin in his day, just as He preaches to the prisoners of sin in our own day through the witness and preaching of Christians. Their sin was their disobedience to and rejection of God’s call to enter the ark.

It is the same sin of rebellion in people today who reject the call of God through the witness of Christians.    This rebellion to the Gospel resulted in the drowning of the people in Noah’s day and their souls being imprisoned in hell. 

 But we must also note in this I Peter 3 text  that while Jesus’ body was in the tomb those three days and nights, His Spirit was preaching to those in prison.  Ephesians 4:8-9 refers to this. To whom did Jesus go when He preached to spirits in prison?    Lord willing,  we will attempt to answer these and other questions concerning this I Peter 3 passage and we will continue with other assurances based on the resurrection of Christ in future articles.      

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Bodily Resurrection of Christ, Foundation of Christianity

Resurrection of Christ Part II

 

In the last article we left you with the question of where Jesus spirit went as His body lay in the tomb for three days and three nights. Ephesians 4:8-9 tells us that when Jesus was buried, His Spirit went into the lower parts of the earth. I Peter 3:19 tells us that He preached to the spirits in prison.

 

Who were they and what did He preach?  For a hint, note the words  “Even as” in Jude 7  Those words connect the sin of verse 6  with the sin of verse 7.  It connects the angels that sinned with women in the years before the Flood  with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Both were perverted sexual sins which were an abomination  in the sight of God.    

 

THE SONS OF GOD    

 

Jude 6-7 speaks of the spirits in prison. This could refer to the angels who kept not their first estate as God’s holy angels, but followed Satan in his rebellion against God. These demons appeared as men who. according to Genesis 6:1-4. had sexual relations with the women of earth and produced an evil race of monstrous sinners. These angels, created by God, are referred to as the “Sons of God” there in Genesis 6, as well as  in Job 38:4-7 and in Job 1:6.  

 

 

In II Peter 2:4 we learn that these fallen angels are confined to a pit called Tartaros.    In Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 we have the story of the fall of Lucifer (Satan) from Heaven. Read also an account of his fall in Revelation12:1-9. There we read that when Satan fell, he took a third of the stars of Heaven with him.  No doubt, these stars of Heaven are a description of the angels who followed him in rebellion against God.     

 

 

Where did Jesus’ spirit go while His body lay in the tomb for three days and three nights? He went to preach to those fallen angels. What did Jesus Spirit preach to those angels?  It is my understanding that Jesus proclaimed victory over Satan and his hosts. Genesis 3:15 records that God declared war on Satan and his hosts back in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve’s fall.  With Christ’s death and resurrection He confirmed to Satan and his evil hosts that they are defeated and it’s only a matter of time before they will be cast into Hell Fire for eternity, never again to contaminate man or the world with sin.

 

 Revelation 12:12 tells us that Satan is furious because he knows his time is short.  As we near the end of the age, we are seeing Satan’s wrath and opposition to God and to God’s people intensify.  Even now there is an ongoing warfare in the unseen world between God and the evil powers of Satan and his demons as described in Ephesians 6:10-19.  We as Christians are drawn into this battle by virtue of our relationship with Christ.     

 

 

III. CHRIST’S BODILY RESURRECTION ALSO ASSURES US OF OUR OWN BODILY RESURRECTION.    

 

 

Job, who no doubt lived in the time of the Patriarchs, is the first to speak by inspiration of God of the resurrection. In the midst of his intense sufferings, God enabled him to look forward to his resurrection day.   He gives an amazing detailed description of his resurrected body in Job 19:23-27.   Read the passage and rejoice with Job.  The details are amazing and thrilling!    

 

 

Romans 8:11 teaches us that the same Holy Spirit who resurrected Jesus’ body from the dead is also going to one day raise up our bodies from the dead.  In other words,  Jesus’ bodily resurrection guarantees our bodily resurrection.     Philippians 3:20-21 informs  us that our bodies are going to be just like Jesus’ glorified body. 

 

 

To learn more about our resurrection bodies,  go to the last chapters of each of the four Gospels,  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and there you will learn amazing details about Jesus’  glorified body and ours one day, that should fascinate any science/fiction enthusiast.  Just for starters, imagine being able to move at the speed of thought. 

 

 

Only Christians will have these glorified bodies.  The unsaved will also be resurrected to live in Hell Fire eternally in bodies that experience torment but are never  annihilated.  The horror is almost too much to even mention.  The good news is you do not have to go to hell. 

 

 

Trust Christ who bore your hell on the cross.  He will save you instantly and eternally by His grace.  You can’t do anything to earn it or deserve it.  You must receive God’s gift of salvation as a totally free gift.       Paul declares the heart of the Gospel in Romans 10:9-10  by showing us exactly what we must believe; not just in our minds, but in our hearts. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Without heart faith in the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus, we have no salvation. Will you receive Him by faith this moment?     

 

 

IV. CHRIST’S BODILY RESURRECTION GIVES CHRIST THE RIGHT AND THE AUTHORITY TO BE OUR LORD.    

 

 

In Philippians 2:5-11 we see that Jesus, who is God in human flesh, humbled Himself and became a man and willingly went to the cross and died for our sins; then rose again and returned to Heaven to be our rightful Lord.  When we trust Him as our Saviour, we give up our rights to Him as our Lord.  We seek to live only for His glory and for the good of others.  Take time to read that passage and try to grasp the immensity of what Jesus went through for you.  How can any Christian continue on with life refusing to surrender to Him as Lord?    

 

In Romans 14 we learn the impact this new relationship with Christ has in our relationship with people around us.  We no longer live for self, but for others. We no longer lord it over others, but we seek to live an unselfish life and example for others.

 

     

V. HIS RESURRECTION LIFE ENABLES US TO LIVE VICTORIOUSLY OVER SIN.

 

 

No, we don’t live it perfectly and won’t live it perfectly until we are glorified and in Heaven, but as Christians we long to live pure, sinless lives.  We hate sin as we see it in ourselves and we confess it and  He forgives and cleanses us from sin.  I John 1 gives us clear instruction on how to deal with sin as a Christian.    

 

But the question that haunts every Christian is, “How can I live victoriously over sin?”The how to of sanctification, or becoming saintly, is explained in three steps found in Romans 6.

 

 

   1. KNOW these facts concerning your identification with Christ  in Romans 6:1-10  You were crucified in the person of Christ. You were buried in the person of Christ. You arose from the dead in the person of Christ.    

 

 

2. RECKON these facts to be true.  Romans 6:11-12  That is, count these facts to be true, especially in moments of temptation.   

 

 

3. YIELD to Christ.  Romans 6:13-16 Yield to Christ’s Lordship in every decision of life and every time you are tempted to sin.   When you yield to Him,  His Holy Spirit, who lives in your heart, takes over in your life and you begin to live the life you could never life by your own effort.  Christ lives in you!  That’s the wonderful secret      

 

 

THE TWIN TRUTHS OF JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION MUST NEVER BE SEPARATED  

 

 

In Justification you are  judicially declared righteous.  Through faith in Christ’s shed blood for your sins, God counts you as righteous as His own dear Son, the Lord Jesus.

 

 

But the purpose of salvation is not to simply give you a free ticket to Heaven, but to bring you  into a life of victory over sin through your identification with Christ as a believer.    These two truths, though separate truths, must be accepted together if we are to grow to spiritual maturity.   I encourage you to read through the following passages and see how both truths always go together.  Romans 8:1,   Ephesians 1:4, and 12,   2:8-10,  4:11-13, 5:5-6,  5:25-27  Philippians 1:6,  3:10-15  

 

    

VI.  FINALLY, HIS RESURRECTION GIVES US POWER TO SERVE HIM.

 

   

When Jesus returned to Heaven, He left behind His Holy Spirit to dwell in each Christian. Ephesians 4:8-16 teaches us that He has gifted each of us to serve Him. In Acts 1:1-9 we learn that His The Holy Spirit gives us  power to serve Him by serving others.  We best serve Him by showing Christ to others through our lives and sharing the Gospel with them.

 

  

THANK GOD FOR THE CERTAINTY OF JESUS’ BODILY RESURRECTION!

   

Can you see the hopelessness and folly of calling ourselves Christians if Jesus never actually rose from the dead?   We are hopeless, deluded fools if Jesus never rose from the dead.

 

  

But we are certain Jesus did rise from the dead and because of that we who are Christians will rise in the First Resurrection. Revelation 20:5-6   and  the unsaved will rise in the Second Resurrection. Revelation 20:11-15

 

 

In which resurrection will you rise?  If you choose to reject Him, do you really want to face what is described in Revelation 20:11-15? That will be the indescribable horror of all those who reject Christ as Saviour.  

 

March 19, 2008 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Resurrection of Christ Part II

Evidence of the Resurrection

Christ’s resurrection is the most proven fact in history.  I am more certain of that fact than I am that George Washington was the  first president of the United States.

Each of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John conclude with accounts of Christ’s resurrection.  I Corinthians 15 is the major chapter in the Bible on this subject.  The Old Testament prophesied His resurrection.  Psalm 16:10   Jesus declared He would rise from the dead.  Matthew 12:38-40,  John 2:18-22

What if it’s not true?

One thing is sure.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead in a glorified body, then He is not God, the Bible is not true and  we Christian are all deluded and living in a dream world.  I Corinthians 15:12-20   No one questions that  a man named Jesus lived 2000 years ago and that He died on a cross at the hands of Roman executioners and that He was buried in a tomb. Did Jesus actually rise from the dead in a glorified body?

Review the Evidence.

Let us briefly examine the recorded events of His resurrection; and in the events study carefully the evidence.

Three days after His crucifixion, the tomb where He had been laid to rest  was empty.  Luke 24:1-3

Read the eyewitness accounts of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John in John 20:1-18   In this account, note every detail.  What was it that Peter and John saw?  They saw the linen cloth  that had been wrapped around His corpse. They saw it lying there undisturbed with the body missing.  The napkin that covered His face was lying separately folded beside the empty cocoon type wrappings.

Follow Him on His Sunday afternoon walk to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-32

Note  the accounts of the disciples meeting the resurrected Christ that first Sunday night. Luke 24:33-48  John 20:19-25

Observe the disciples meeting Christ a week later. John 20:26-29

Read the emotional  account of breakfast by the
Sea of Galilee. John 21:1-22

See  His ascension back to Heaven.  Acts 1:1-12

Note how the enemies went to great lengths to secure the tomb of Jesus. Matthew 27:62-66

Study the plot of Jesus’ enemies to spread a lie. This is one of the strongest proofs of Christ’s resurrection.   Matthew 28:11-15

Consider the courage and sacrifice of Jesus’ apostles. Would they or would you have been willing to die for what you knew to be a fraud?

Explain to yourself  how Christ’s Church continues to grow even after over 2000 years.   Could a dead man be behind all of this?

The greatest proof of His resurrection is something you cannot know until you have put your trust in Christ.  When you know Him as your Saviour, you KNOW He is alive for sure;  for His Spirit lives in  your heart and bears witness with your spirit.

What does it matter whether Jesus rose or not?

Because Jesus arose and is alive today, four things are certain.

We have assurance that we are forgiven, justified and ready for Heaven.  Romans 4:23-25

We have His resurrection power to live victoriously over sin.  Romans 6:1-4

We have assurance of His return to take us Home to Heaven if we are Christians. I  John 3:1-3

We have assurance that He will return to judge all those who have rejected Him as Saviour. Acts 17:31-32

What is your verdict?

Now you have the evidence that demands your verdict.  Will you receive Him as your Saviour from sin and be assured of eternal salvation or will you reject Him now and face Him later as your judge and be condemned to Hell.

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Evidence of the Resurrection

Jesus, Our Passover Lamb

There are two facts we know for certain concerning the time line of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. These are uncontestable facts. 

First Fact

In Matthew 12:38-40  Jesus plainly announced that He would be buried in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.  This would be impossible  if Jesus died on “Good Friday”.and rose early Sunday morning.  A careful study of the Scriptures will show that Jesus died on Wednesday. This is something I would never argue. It simply makes sense to me and allows me to accept Jesus’ statment in Matthew 12:38-40 without having to try to defend  an illogical Friday crucifixion.  Keep in mind that the Jewish day begins at sunset. 

Second Fact

No one questions that Jesus rose the first day of the week. John 20:1 makes a positive statement that Jesus rose on the first day of the week.   

Since this is true, Jesus had to die on Wednesday and had to be in the grave three days and three nights:   Thursday night and Thursday,  Friday night and Friday and Saturday night and Saturday. Jesus  rose from the tomb early Sunday morning. The stone was rolled away so His friends could discover the empty tomb. 

An apparent Problem to a Wednesday Crucifixion

However, this idea of a Wednesday crucifixion poses an apparent problem. The Bible teaches that Jesus’ body had to be taken down from the cross and buried before the Sabbath which was approaching. This leads most Christians to believe that Jesus died on Friday before the weekly Sabbath on Saturday.  The solution to this problem is that the Sabbath Day spoken of here was not the weekly Sabbath; rather the annual Feast of Unleavened Bread Sabbath.  John 19:31 

Jesus, Our Passover Lamb 

Let us examine the Passover briefly. It was first mentioned in Exodus 12:2-6.  From this passage we learn that it was to be observed the first month of the Jewish year, Abib. After the Exile the name of the month was changed to Nisan.   This would be April for us.   The Passover  lambs were  to be slain on the 14th day with nothing remaining on the 15th day. 

In Lev. 23:5-7 we learn further that on the 15th day, following the Passover slaying on the 14th day, there was to be a special  week-long celebration, The Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first and last days of this feast were special Sabbaths.  This was the Sabbath referred to in the crucifixion account.  Jesus body had to be buried before sundown, the beginning of this Feast of Unleavened Bread.  

With this in mind think how beautifully Jesus fulfills the type of  our Passover Lamb; slain on the 14th day of  Nisan just when lambs were being slain all over the land. See John 19:14.  Could a more perfect Lamb be found?  Could a more perfect day be chosen on which to slay The Lamb of God?

March 2, 2006 Posted by | Passion Week, Resurrection | Comments Off on Jesus, Our Passover Lamb

When our World Collapses

Christians are not exempt from trouble. 

We live in a sin-cursed world filled with misery, sadness, disappointments, relationships gone sour, unhappy marriages, broken homes, wayward children, broken lives, shattered dreams, war, crime, sickness, pain, grief, financial reverses and circumstances beyond our control.  For many, their world is collapsing around them. God’s people are not immune or exempt from these trials and feelings of sorrow and sometimes hopelessness.  Sometimes we don’t even feel the presence of God. 

The Psalmist sometimes felt that way. Listen to him in Psalm 42  “As the deer pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after Thee, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before Thee?  My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, ‘Where is thy God?’   The Psalmist continues his complaint, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me?  Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” 

Job, engulfed in personal tragedy and hopelessness, speaks in Job 23 of his inability to sense God’s presence.  All of us have had times in our lives when we felt all alone and could not even sense the presence of God. Job says in verses 8-10  “Behold, I go forward , but He is not there.  I look backward, but I cannot perceive Him.  I look on the left hand where He works, but I cannot behold Him. He hides Himself on the right hand so that I cannot see Him.   But in spite of my lack of ability to feel His presence, He knows the way that I take. When He has tried and tested me, I shall come forth as pure gold.” 

Christ’s resurrection makes all the difference.

Without the assurance of Christ’s resurrection, we Christians would be a hopeless, pathetic lot.  But thank God that we have something more solid and substantial than our weak, changeable feelings.   In spite of Job’s negative feelings, Job knew facts concerning the prophesied truths of His Redeemer’s resurrection. He could rest on those facts and rejoice.  Listen to the amazing facts in Job 19:23-27 that Job had been given by inspiration of God.  “Oh that my words were now written!  Oh, that they were printed in a book, that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever!  (Job’s desire was fulfilled. These words are written by divine inspiration and are found in God’s infallible, indestructible Word, the Bible, forever!) He continues to speak in Job 19:25, ” For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and that though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet IN MY FLESH SHALL I SEE GOD: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my internal organs be consumed within me.”    Wow!  What light we have here on our bodily resurrection!   As Jesus arose from the dead and was seen in His recognizable glorified body,  so one day we will be raised in our glorified, recognizable bodies.  We will not have nor need our internal organs nor blood, for presently the life of the flesh is in the blood; but in our resurrection bodies, that won’t be necessary.  

Please turn in your Bible to John chapter 20 and discover some wonderful truths concerning the resurrection as we find the disciples huddled together in fear and despondency  that first Sunday evening;  possibly in the same upper room where they had met with Jesus just before He went to Calvary‘s cross to die for our sins. Mary Magdalene had met Jesus earlier that day and she had told the disciples about her meeting. Surely, if they gathered together, perhaps they would also soon see Him, for He had said earlier in His ministry,  “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in their midst.”  The disciples were about to experience the fulfillment of this promise physically.  We today experience the spiritual presence of Christ whenever we gather in His name.  That spiritual presence is just as real to us as the physical presence of Christ was real to the disciples. 

God’s Word makes us glad

What happened that night in Jerusalem 2000 years ago?  There in that room with the doors being shut and perhaps locked,  Jesus appeared physically to them as He passed right through the walls and stood in their presence.  He showed them the nail holes in his hands and the spear wound in His side.  The disciples were glad.  I think they were ecstatic when they saw Him and heard Him speak. So today when we gather in His name,  His Word makes us glad. 

Even the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, who was saddened over the plight of Judah in Babylonian captivity, was made glad by the Word of God. Jeremiah says in Jeremiah 15:16, “The Words were found and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Thy Name, O Lord God of Hosts.” 

Not only were the disciples made glad, but they heard Jesus speak peace to their troubled hearts.  When you trust Christ as your Saviour, you will know peace with God. Read Ephesians 2:14.  Not only will you have peace with God, but your heart will be filled with the very peace of God. Read Philippians 4:6-7 

Report for Duty!

Furthermore, the disciples were commissioned for service. They heard Jesus say, “As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you!”  We don’t normally hear that call unless we turn aside from the things of this world to listen to Him.  Exodus 3:1-4 tells of how Moses turned aside when he saw the burning bush that would not be consumed. As he observed this supernatural phenomenon, God spoke to him from the bush and called him to lead Israel out from the slavery of Egypt. 

The prophet Isaiah also heard that call when he focused on the holiness and glory of God. You can read of his commission for service in Isaiah 6. With the commission for service, the disciples were endued with the power of the Holy Spirit.  I believe they were given the Holy Spirit that moment.  Later at Pentecost the Spirit of God would come down in great  power on the early church as they were baptized and  united by the Spirit into one Body, Christ’s Church, and empowered to be witnesses. 

Now consider Thomas.  Where was he?  Out in the cold, dark night of loneliness and despondency.  Note what he missed.  He missed Jesus’ presence.  He missed the gladness.  He missed the message of peace. He missed the commission for service and the divine power.  What kind of person was Thomas?  Probably a pessimist. You see that in John 11:5-16.

I would not waste my time living for Christ  IF 

He was possibly argumentative. He certainly had honest questions.  There’s nothing wrong in honest questions, as long as you are willing to accept God’s answers from His Word.  He was somewhat skeptical and negative.  When the disciples came to him and raved about  their meeting with Jesus, Thomas insisted that he would not believe Jesus was risen from the dead until He could see with his own eyes the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side.  That attitude was not all bad.  Thomas was really saying, “I refuse to become a follower of Jesus, unless I am convinced that He rose from the dead.” I feel the same way.  I would not waste my time and effort worshipping and serving a Saviour who I was not convinced  had risen from the dead.  

 

The following week the disciples met once again in that room where they had seen Jesus the week before.  This time they had convinced Thomas to join them.  They were not disappointed.  Again Jesus met and showed Himself to them.  In fact, He invited Thomas to stick his finger in the nail prints in His hands and thrust his fist into the wound in His side.  Thomas didn’t have to do that.  He took one look and fell on his face before Christ, crying out,  “MY LORD AND MY GOD!”  Thomas was a changed man and joined the rest of the Apostles proclaiming Christ to the world. God pronounced a blessing on the Apostles who saw, but He pronounces an even greater blessing on us, who have never yet seen Jesus in person.  

 Have you received the crucified and risen Christ as your Saviour and Lord?  If so, you’ve already discovered the gladness and the peace of His presence. If you’re listening, you have already heard His call to serve Him and you’ve been given the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill His calling. “Blessed are you who have not yet seen Him, yet have believed!”

March 1, 2006 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on When our World Collapses