Jesus Got Up From The Grave!

For April 4, 2021
All humanity was in spiritual peril. Sin and death bound us, where there was no escape. But, Jesus’ single magnificent act would change the course of our future once and for all.

Up to now, Jesus Christ was like any other person who has ever spouted lofty ideals, performing magical tricks, and leading a group of misfits and non-conformists. This behavior was seen before. (Although raising the widow’s son, Jairus’ daughter, and Lazarus from the dead were spectacular accomplishments.)

He was approximately thirty-three years old, give or take—a relatively young man—cut down in the prime of His life. His claim to be God in human flesh, (or the Son of God), along with His claim to be our only means of redemption were without validation to this point. Then, something happened that distinguishes Him from anyone who has ever lived.

Jesus Rose from the Dead!

Through His resurrection, God glorifies the Son and validates His authority over Satan, sin, and death, making Him the most significant person who has ever lived, and it ensures us that He will not disappoint those of us who put our faith in Him,

By any and all standards, Jesus Christ has always been regarded as the greatest figure in human history. On any list of the world’s greatest men, we always find at its head Jesus of Nazareth. Regardless of whether or not men acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord, they must pay tribute to Him as the world’s outstanding man. 1

Many refer to Jesus as a prophet or teacher. Some say He was a good man who died tragically. If death was all there was, we would be hopelessly lost. But, praise the Lord! Jesus’ death is not all that there was to know about Him. He also rose from the dead, and He left behind an empty tomb. Although some have tried, we cannot ignore the implications of this historical fact.

    •  The empty tomb validates the Lord’s claim to be the Son of God or God in human flesh and that He, the Helper, and the Father are one.

I and my Father are one…I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper…the Spirit of truth…I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 10:30, 14:16-18 NKJV)

    • It confirms God has approved Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sin and solidifies the new and abundant life we have in Him forever.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:16-18 NIV).

    • It shows the Father answered His prayer to be glorified most emphatically.

Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV).

    • It proves and assures we will also experience a glorious resurrection, just as He has,

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God (Job 19:26 AKJV).

    • It assures us we can pray, read/study His Word, abide by His commands, trust His promises, attend church, observe His ordinances, serve others, and strive toward spiritual growth knowing our actions are productive,

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV).

The foundation of our Christian faith is the actual bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of it, we sorrow not as others who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13),

This is but natural, as Christianity must stand or fall with the resurrection. Christ “rose from the dead,” has always been a cardinal article of faith in the Christian Church; for the defense of the faith and comfort to the Believers. The difficulties that beset denial are found in: (a) the impossibility of explaining the empty grave; (b) the attitude of the enemies of Christ after the resurrection, revealing their helpless confusion; (c) the Disciples’ sudden transition from hopelessness to triumphant faith; (d) the founding of Christianity in the world, which can be rationally accounted for only in view of the fact that Christ actually rose from the dead.2

Our Christian faith, history, and theology derive from the idea that Jesus Christ rose from the dead physically. Along with the Disciples we, His Followers today, universally accept this as fact. And despite the two thousand years of skeptics, our Christian faith has never been a product of “lies, fraud, hallucinations, and sick minds.” Courageous, clear-minded Saints of God continue to die for their faith in the Lord because they know Him to be authentic and eternal. Christian faith stands or falls with the resurrection of Jesus.3

Our Lord willingly died to pay for our sins, and He triumphantly rose for our justification. He ascended into Heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God, interceding for us. Soon, He will return for us, and we will be with Him forever in His peace and love. Won’t you trust Him today?

Jesus is risen…He is risen indeed!

What a Wonderful Savior!

Love In Action—Jesus Died For Our Sins!

For April 2, 2021
The word love has many meanings, although it defines our emotional attraction toward someone or something. For instance, we can love our jobs, houses, cars, classical music, pizza, and that old pair of comfortable jeans. Even the Ancient Greeks distinguished parental love (Greek: storge) from fraternal love (Greek: phileo) from the passion between lovers (Greek: eros).

However, Jesus Christ establishes a new love paradigm when He commanded us to love each other unselfishly and fervently, just as He loves us (Greek: agape). It is by this unselfish love, everyone will know we are His disciples (John 13:34—35). This is the highest form of selfless, pure love, which can only find its source in and expression through God. Jesus attests of this in John 15:13 (NKJV) when He states, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

God’s love is completely devoid of sin and selfishness. In our strength alone, we are incapable of such altruism because we are motivated by, “What’s in it for us?” before we consider responding lovingly.

Although difficult, Christians have the capacity to express His love as we yield to His Spirit, who instinctively responds to others through us in the ways that serve their best interests. The Spirit within us extends this unique, powerful, transforming love to all people everywhere—so that even our enemies can benefit greatly.

1 John 4:7—8 tells us that God is love. And He continues to express it as He has from the beginning. When there was nothing, He created the earth and all that is in it to make a perfect habitation for imperfect humans. Even after we fell and sin contaminated this world, He extended mercy to Adam and Eve by promising The Redeemer who would restore our lost fellowship.

Romans 6:23 tells us the payment for sin is death. In other words, someone has to die, and blood has to be shed to remediate our sin to restore our lost fellowship with God,

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11 NKJV).

God sustained our existence through Noah when sin was rampant, and He later produced a people of faith who would love Him and be a blessing to others through Abraham. Love delivered God’s people from Egyptian bondage, sustained them through the Red Sea, the desolate wilderness, and gave them a new identity in the land that He promised them.

God’s love foretold of One who would sit on David’s throne and rule God’s people with justice and mercy. He would also express God’s love completely by nullifying the curse and dominion of sin and by redeeming sin-cursed humanity in righteousness forever.

Only Jesus fulfills God’s enduring love for us. He left glory, inhabited human flesh, and walked on earth for thirty-three years; sharing His message of love, faith, and redemption. Unselfishly, He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, encouraged the downtrodden, and taught about His transforming, redeeming message.

Yet, on the last day of His earthly life, He demonstrated exceptional love. Knowing that one sitting with Him during the Passover Seder would betray Him shortly, He did not condemn him. Instead, Jesus shared a morsel of food with Judas and gave him permission to perform the despicable act he contemplated. Jesus could have exposed Judas to the other eleven disciples in the room, but He showed love by feeding Him and giving Him another chance to repent.

Later that evening, while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had the opportunity to escape death on the cross. The disciples were asleep when the full weight of what was to happen in less than twelve hours hit Him like the proverbial “ton of bricks.” Jesus cried to His Heavenly Father and asked, if it were possible, to let the cup pass and excuse Him from the cruel death on the cross. Yet He was determined to fulfill God’s will, not His own.

After being beaten, spat upon, insulted, and crowned with thorns, our Lord still loved us so much that He was willing to be further disgraced and humiliated. Stripped of His clothing, Jesus was affixed to a wooden cross with metal spikes driven through His hands and feet. Then He was placed on a hill between two thieves before throngs of mocking people.

Instead of commanding legions of angels to destroy us, He surrendered His life for our sins and interceded on our behalf by asking His heavenly Father to forgive all those who were responsible—including you and me today.

Jesus died for you and I to prove His wonderful, matchless love for us. Won’t you receive His love today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

Hosanna To The King of Kings!

For March 28, 2021
During this week of consecration and celebration, Jews from around the world converged on Jerusalem to increase the city’s population exponentially as all Jewish males were required to attend the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles).1

Passover and Unleavened Bread hold critical historical significance to the Nation of Israel and to Jews around the world as these observances commemorate the Children of Israel’s release from four-hundred years of Egyptian slavery (Exodus 12:1-13:16, 23:17, 34:23).

Although festive revelers, musicians, and celebrators packed the streets with song, dance, and reverie, this day marks the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, which culminates with what we observe as Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter.

The week began on our Palm Sunday, with Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into His beloved Jerusalem.  He presents Himself as the long-awaited Messiah riding a donkey. Crowds gathered to lay palm branches and their outer clothing in His path shouting,

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! (Matthew 21:9 NIV).

Jesus did not ride a horse, as would a conquering hero. Instead, He rides the donkey’s colt, a symbol of peace, to present Himself as God’s humble emissary sent to redeem a fallen humanity. His calculated actions fulfill these two Messianic prophesies,

Indeed the Lord has proclaimed To the end of the world: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him’ ” (Isaiah 62:11 NKJV).

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 NKJV).

Humbly, our Lord presents Himself as the Messiah, our Conquering Hero who will not only establish His eternal Kingdom where righteousness, justice, and peace will reign forever. He also presents Himself as the Holy One of Israel—the Lamb of God—who ultimately defeats the plague of sin and death that has troubled humanity since shortly after the Creation.

No one but Jesus Christ loves us so deeply, gives of himself so freely, and keeps us so completely in this life and the next. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who delivers us from a life of sin and presents us before God in His role as our everlasting Advocate, Alpha and Omega, Bridegroom, Deliverer, Faithful and True Witness, Lord and God, Good Shepherd, Great God and Savior, Great High Priest, Hope of Glory, I Am, Eternal Judge, Friend, King of Glory, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Physician, Prince of Peace, Prophet, Ransom, Redeemer, Resurrection and Life, Righteous Judge, Rock, Ruler of Kings, Savior, True Vine, Truth, Way, and Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is, and shall forever be, our all in all.

What a Wonderful Savior!

Still No Room For Jesus!

For December 20, 2020
In Luke 2:7 (NKJV), we read these telling words,

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

The world’s fate rested in the hands of two young travelers, Joseph and Mary, his espoused wife, who carried inside her the Savior of the world.

The Savior of the world is a title reserved for dignitaries. However, unlike the celebrities of today who travel with an entourage that provides for their very best, especially securing suitable four-star hotel accommodations.

Not so with our Lord Jesus Christ as there was no room for Him anywhere!

Fast forward two-thousand years, and this has not changed. There is still no room for Him in the public discourse as His teachings are “not relevant” for our modern world. For instance, no one wants to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, or turn the other cheek when challenged, or love our enemies and our neighbors as we love ourselves, or provide aid to the widow, orphan, and downtrodden.

Instead, in today’s “me-centered” world, we clearly see the mantra: “Hang everybody else…I got to get paid!” being celebrated and perfected in the lives of young and old alike.

However, although we may seem to get by at times, we will never get away. There will be a day of reckoning when God’s righteous judgement will be served. Then, everyone will be required to account for his or her deeds—whether good of bad. Thus, Jesus Christ issues a warning for our proud, self-centered generation,

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Mark 8:34—37 NLT)

The Lord chooses foolish things to confound the wise and weak things to confound the strong. He also uses the lowborn and chooses the things that are insignificant to make nothing out of the things that are. (1 Corinthians 1:26ff). In this way, no one can boast except he or she boasts in the Lord alone.1

I praise the Lord for His precious remnant. Those who leave room for Jesus to reign in their hearts as well as in every phase of their human and social interaction. These courageous men, women, boys, and girls continually celebrate our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, because in Him alone, we can find redemption and peace with God.

As we turn our faith towards Him, making room for Him, we can experience all the joy and fulfillment this Christmas Season has to offer—now and forever!

What a Wonderful Savior!

He Is Risen…He Is Risen Indeed!

For April 12, 2020
It was supposed to be like any other Sabbath in Jerusalem. Much all the others that preceded it, this one was peaceful and quiet. Highly trained, battle tested, hardened Roman soldiers were guarding Joseph of Arimathaea’s tomb, preparing for what would otherwise be an ordinary day.

Then it happened:

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” Matthew 28:1-10 (NLT)

Little did anyone know that the entire course of human history would be changed forever when three women were informed that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead—just as He said.

The implications of His resurrections comprise the central core of our Christian faith and message as 1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (NLT) insists:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

Because He lives, we can know that our faith in His death and resurrection is not in vain. Forgiveness of sin along with the gift of eternal life with the Lord forever is now a certainty—because He lives.

Herein lies what distinguishes Jesus Christ from all other religious leaders: He rose from the dead just as He promised, and His tomb remains empty today. Jesus Christ is risen…He is risen indeed!

What a Wonderful Savior and Happy Easter!