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Posts tagged ‘easter’

Easter Part 7 – Jesus meets people today

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Easter Part 7

Jesus meets people today

As we have seen, the good news is that Jesus is still living. The remainder of the four Gospels and the beginning of the book of Acts tell us a little more of what Jesus did before He ascended into the heavens. But Jesus still meets with people at the present time. How does He do this?

Jesus walks with us, where ever we go and in particular in the darkest periods of our life. Just as he did with the two people on the road to Emmaus, he walks with those who proclaim to follow Him (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32). Jesus speaks whenever the Bible is faithfully preached and read from, just as He opened the eyes of those on the Emmaus road when He explained the Scriptures (Luke 24:27). Jesus meets us in the Communion or Lord’s Supper, with the bread and wine, which symbolise His flesh and blood as an act of remembrance of what He did for humanity.

But that is not the end, because Jesus has promised that He is coming again. Not as a baby next time, but as an all conquering Son of God in judgment to gather those who follow Him. Are you ready? If you want to follow this Jesus, come on over Here is how… You won’t regret it if you do!

Becoming a Christian

If you want to turn to God there is no need for delay. He is ready and willing to take you as his own – right now. You only have to ask him to forgive you and he will! Being a Christian is a partnership between God and yourself. Deciding to change course in mid-life, is what is called conversion, being born again, or deciding to be a Christian. When you place your faith in Jesus, becoming utterly dependent upon Him, you turn to God.

Once you have made that decision, you leave behind your rebellion against Him. As you live each day, becoming more involved with Jesus day by day, you will find yourself changing. You stop doing things which separated you from him and find yourself doing things that develop your relationship with him.

How do you develop this relationship?

Until you enter into that relationship, sin, or that which alienates you from God, controls your rebellion against him in your attitudes and your activities. You develop this relationship by allowing God to take control of your life, as He asks you to accept His management and guidance of your life.

God’s point of view and His strength will become your point of view and your source of strength. You turn your mind, will and heart to Him for all you do.
If you want to make that decisive step and become a Christian there are three simple steps to take.

  • Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and his ways and turn away from those attitudes.
  • Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus as your Saviour from the consequences of the anger of God towards you and your tendency to sin. Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing him for who he is and what he has done.
  • Lastly, accept the Holy Spirit of God into your life as the major motivating force for what you do. Once sin has been confessed, Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour and the Holy Spirit has entered your life, then you are a Christian.

All these things happen together in a flash as you turn to God. Now you are ready to grow in grace and knowledge of our Jesus. Welcome to the family of God! God has chosen you. Jesus has paid for you and has put his mark within you through his Spirit (Ephesians 1:1-13).

Download the Podcast to hear about the resurrected Jesus meeting people today – including you!

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Easter Part 6 – Significance of the Resurrection

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Easter Part 6

Significance and consequences of Jesus’ Resurrection

Significance 1
The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1:22; Acts 4:33, Acts 17:18) and certainly within Paul-ine theology. But what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

That was the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church about the Jesus having been raised from the dead – physically!

Significance 2
The resurrection proved and vindicated all Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to His being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:13-15; Romans 1:4). The resurrection, declared God’s approval of Jesus obedient service and the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises, resulting in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ, which was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2:32, Romans 4:24-25). Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15:12-58, Romans 8:10, 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Peter 1:3 & 21). As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5:10; Hebrews 6:20; 1 Peter 1:21).

Significance 3
Finally, the resurrection of Jesus’ physical body is a sure victory over satan, sin and death. All three are conquered and squashed. Satan is a defeated creature and will do anything to drag people into defeat with him. The power of sin is conquered, and sin’s grip is overcome if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Finally, as I said earlier, death has been beaten, because those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ will live forever with him – death is not the end but a beginning.

If Jesus Christ did not physically rise from the dead then as Paul states in

“Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he didn’t raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. For if the dead aren’t raised, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all people most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

 

Or let me put it in my own words – if Jesus Christ did not physically rise from the dead, we as Christians are the product of the greatest delusional lie and are the most foolish of all people.

 

Come back tomorrow to hear another consequence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Jesus meets people today!  Download the Podcast to learn some details of these Scriptures concerning Jesus.

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Easter Part 4 – Jesus is Alive

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Easter Part 4: Jesus is Alive!

1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”’ 8 Then they remembered his words.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.(Luke 24:1-12)

All four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb. What do these four Gospels say about the Jesus’ resurrection or rising from the dead?
Let us first look at the sequence of events over the period of time after Jesus death till He ascended. Now remember, the Gospels are documents which have recorded historical events.

The tomb is empty
• Two Marys watch the burial: (Matthew27:61, Mark 15:47, Luke23:54-55)
• Roman soldiers guard the tomb and place an official Roman seal upon it: (Matthew 27:62-66)
• Women prepare burial spices then rest: (Luke 23:56)
• An angel rolls the stone away: (Matthew 28:2-4)
• Women arrive at dawn with spices: (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-4, Luke 24:1-3, John 20:1)
• Angels appear to women: (Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:5-7, Luke 24:4-8)
• The women dart back to tell disciples: (Matthew 28:8, Mark 16:8, Luke 24:9-11, John 20:2)
• Peter and John investigate the empty tomb: (Luke 24:12, John 20:3-9)
• Peter and John go home: (Luke 24:12, John 20:10)
• Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb: (John 20:11)
• Mary sees two angels: (John 20:12-13)

Jesus’ appearances
• Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: (Mark 16:9, John 20:14-17)
• Jesus appears to the other women: (Matthew 28:9-10)
• Women report to the disciples: (Mark 16:10-11, John 20:18)
• Guards testify to the priests: (Matthew 28:11-15)
• Jesus meets two people on the Emmaus Road: (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32)
• Jesus appears to Simon Peter: (1 Corinthians 15:5, Luke 24:34)
• Two men on the Emmaus Road report to disciples in Jerusalem: (Luke 24:33-35)
• Jesus appears to the Disciples less Thomas: (Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-24)
• Disciples report to Thomas: (John 20:25)
• Jesus appears to the Disciples and Thomas: (Mark 16:14, John 20:26-29)
• Jesus appears to seven people: (John 21:1-14)
• Jesus questions Peter 3 times: (John 21:15-23)
• Jesus appears to 500 people: (1 Corinthians 15:6)
• Jesus appears to James: (1 Corinthians 15:7)

Evidences for the resurrection

These facts remain for the resurrection. Look at them and study them. Notice the changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus. They changed from defeated, cowardly people to victorious, brave people. Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so. Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles. Or take the multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.

This shows that Jesus’ resurrection was physical in nature! Some people say Jesus’ resurrection was spiritual in nature but not physical. But the amount of people that saw Him physically afterwards dispels that particular myth. What about the current tangible evidence – the survival and inordinate growth and impact of the early church and that the church is still growing 2000 years later. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus, would people really have risked persecution and death for knowing a lie? One or two people maybe, but not hundreds. Certainly not thousands!

Come back tomorrow where we continue looking at Jesus’ resurrection.

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Jesus Last Night

82. Partake – The Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Last Night

He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

“God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.” Luke 4v16-21 (The Message)

A lot of businesses and a lot of churches have mission statements. This is Jesus’ Mission statement and after 3 years of ministry from that point, Jesus has preached the good news of God’s salvation. He has healed the sick. He will release the oppressed by His death on the cross. His mission will be fulfilled at the cross.

Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles were the three most important feasts no the Jewish calendar (Leviticus 21). All Jewish men were expected to visit Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16v16). The Feast of Passover was to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and it was a time for remembering and rejoicing (Exodus 11-12). In Luke 22, we come to Jesus’ last night before He goes to that cross.

1. Jesus Plans (Luke 22v1-6)

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. and Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

  • · Jews were expected to remove all yeast from their houses (Ex.12v15) as a reminder that their ancestors left Egypt in a hurry and had to eat bread without yeast.
  • · Jesus had warned his disciples about the “yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12v1). In other words, the religious leaders had cleansed their houses but not their hearts.
  • The last thing the religious leaders wanted was a messianic uprising during Passover (Luke 19v11)
  • Judas was motivated and energized by satan (John 13v2, 27)
  • Judas was never a true believer because his sins had never been cleansed by the Lord (John 13v10-11), therefore Judas had never believed or received eternal life (John 6v64-71)
  • Judas had been given authority and had been preaching the same message. This proves how close a person can come to the kingdom of God and still be lost (Matthew 7v21-29)

2. Jesus Prepares (Luke 22v7-13)

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.” They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Disciples needed a room within Jerusalem itself, and also required food – a lamb, bread, bitter herbs and wine.

(Luke 22v14-23) –

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

The Passover meal contains historical and theological symbolism regarding the death of Jesus. This is why this meal is the model for the central act of Christian worship, which is Holy Communion.

  • Opening Prayer
  • First cup of wine and a dish of herbs and sauce.
  • Story of the Passover was recited.
  • Psalm 113 was sung
  • Second cup of wine
  • Prayer of Grace
  • Main course of roast lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs
  • A further prayer
  • Third cup of wine.
  • Psalm 114 to 118 were then sung.
  • Fourth cup of wine.

3. Jesus Serves

Jesus washes the disciples feet (John 13v1-17)

As part of the custom of the day, a servant or slave usually undertook foot washing of guests. Since none of the disciples had done this, Jesus Himself undertakes the task (John 13v4-5). Peter is recalcitrant and resistant as always, objects (John 13v6, 8). Peter learns that only those cleansed by Jesus and trusting in Him fully, can be a part of the kingdom (John 13v7, 9). As we look back at this episode, knowing what we do now of the Cross, we learn how this simple act of washing feet is symbolic of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross.

Both events display great love and service.

Just as Peter opposed Jesus going to the cross (Matthew 16v21-23), so he objected to having his feet washed here

Jesus’ getting up to serve symbolizes His coming to serve.

As he took off his cloak, this symbolizes the taking off of His glory when He became man.

Girding Himself with a towel, symbolizes his taking on human flesh at the incarnation.

As the water cleansed the feet, so Jesus death and blood cleanse from sin.

As He returned to where he was sitting and sat down after finishing this act of service, Jesus returned to the right hand of God after his work on the Cross.

When we became Christian Disciples, our sins were forgiven through Jesus’ death on the Cross. That is when we had our “bath” as it were. That is the point when we were justified before God and we are declared His child. Having been justified already, we don’t need a bath anymore! But we do need the equivalent of a feet washing daily and or every time we take Holy Communion and a cleansing of our sin when we confess it before our God and repent.

2. Jesus Speaks (Luke 22v24-38)

Reading Luke 22v 25-30: Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

In this teaching we see that

  • The disciples, the new leaders, will judge the tribes of Israel
  • His followers are to serve gladly
  • His followers will be tested
  • His followers will be persecuted and are to show love.

Compare the Plans!

Plans – The contrast between the plan of Jesus and those of his enemies.

Plans of Jesus

Plans of His enemies

  • · Jesus is in control
  • · Plans the Passover meal (Luke 22v7-12)
  • · The meal is part of His plan (Luke 22v16)
  • · He knows Judas’ plan (Luke 22v21-22)
  • · Replaces the old leaders of God with his men (Luke 22v 30)
  • · Plot to kill Jesus (Luke 22v2)
  • · Arranges for Judas to betray Jesus (Luke 22v3)
  • · Satan’s purpose is to destroy Jesus (Luke 22v3, Luke 22v31)

All the elements in the plot conspiring against Jesus had been allowed for. The death of Jesus was no accident (1 Peter 1v18-21) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

New Covenant

The new covenant is a new meal, in order to remind his followers in every age about the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The new covenant (Luke 22v20), Jesus claims that in His death, was spoken about by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31v33-34). It was a new covenant in which God’s people will be able to know Him intimately for their sins will be forgiven.

For more to think about please ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How often are my feet washed or my sins confessed?

Q2. Read Philippians 2. How does this passage relate to John 13 and how should I react to it?

Q3. How often am I prepared to serve and do the little jobs that need doing, instead of waiting for somebody else to do them?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you.

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Easter – Jesus’ Last Breath

Way of the Cross

Way of the Cross – Taken when I visited Jerusalem during Holy Week in 1992… These Franciscan monks re-enact the walk of our Saviour Jesus Christ up the Via Dolorosa (Way of Grief/Suffering)…

Friday – Jesus’ Last Breath

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Isaiah 52v13-14: See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness-

Isaiah 53v10-11: Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Those words were spoken of the coming Messiah, by the prophet Isaiah centuries before Jesus Christ. Together we have looked at during this Easter series, Jesus’ mission and identity and have placed Him as the Messiah spoken about throughout the Old Testament, including Isaiah. We have looked at Jesus’ last teaching, last prayers and the events of his last night. Following his betrayal he is now facing trial in a Roman court, being interrogated by Pontius Pilate. Now, as we look together briefly at John 19, let us see what happened to Jesus Christ – His condemnation, crucifixion, death and burial.

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