Posts Tagged ‘resurrection’

As Jesus followers we have access to the most powerful force in the universe.  Paul writes about it in his salutation to the church in Ephesus.

‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, ‘   Ephesians 1:18-20

My last post discussed how our emotions can lead us to believe a lie.  There is so much information being disseminated that is not accurate, whether intentionally or simply in error, that it is easy to absorb, believe, and emote based upon untruth.  Once we have believed a lie, especially when it has evoked strong emotion, it becomes easier to believe supporting lies and harder to discern the truth from the lie.

I do not believe it coincidental that the word in my quiet and prayer following that post was power.  Repeatedly yesterday the reality of God’s power was emphasized… beginning with God’s power demonstrated in raising Jesus from the dead, continuing with the power Jesus exhibited in healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and ministering to the humble and meek.  That power was then compared to our sun which provides our light, warmth, and sufficient energy to sustain life on this big, blue ball we call home even though it is over 93 million miles away.  While the sun in powerful, the One who created it had to be even more powerful to create it and all that is.

Finally, I saw the power of God in the ability to change a mind… to direct us onto the right course… to deliver the opioid-addict and bring them to health and wholeness… to turn a prodigal toward home… to open our eyes to the lies and half-truths we have embraced and to see and seek truth… to bring us ever closer to Him Who is the Lover of our souls.

That same power is continually available to us as Jesus’ followers.  We are encouraged to embrace that truth and to allow Him to guide us into how He wants to make that real in us and through us.  You are saved for a reason – to know Him and to make Him known.  The Holy Spirit living within the believer is the direct connection to God’s power.  In Jesus’ last recorded words before His ascension into heaven He said,  ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ‘ Acts 1:8

I encourage you this morning to lean into Jesus more and more.  Trust in His power which saved you, sustains you, and guides you.  Read the Word and allow the truth of it to saturate your mind and spirit.  As you do so, you will become more aware and dependent upon His wisdom, His grace, and His strength to live the life He has called you to.  You will learn to discern His promptings and respond to them.  I have been fortunate to participate in miracles He has brought about.  My role was 1% of the work which was accomplished simply by being obedient to what I sensed the Holy Spirit wanted me to do.  It was God’s power that did the work – healing in some cases, deliverance in others, salvation at times. In every case God was glorified and people were blessed.

Wherever you are in your faith walk, God has next steps for you which are for your good and His glory.  He will not leave or abandon you, but rather He is right there with you encouraging you to take that next step.  I don’t know exactly what your next step is, but I know God is cheering you on, whispering words of peace, hope, and guidance.  Let today be the day you take that next step in faith.  Let today be the day you take hold of the power Paul said is available.  Let today be the day you experience joy in a new and exhilarating way.  Seize the day my friend by saying yes to Jesus and stepping out in faith.

If you are interested in watching some excellent sermons, our church broadcasts the services on Sunday and they are also saved and accessible free online.  Just go to newspring.cc/sermons.  We are in a series on the Holy Spirit right now which is very balanced and biblically accurate.  Check it out.

With the benediction today, I think I will do a throw-back to the 1970’s and say:

“More power to you!”

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The world was forever changed on Easter morning.  On Friday sin was judged and the just penalty was paid in full.  On Sunday the Lord rose triumphantly from the grave proving He had not only paid the penalty, but He defeated death, hell, and the grave in the process.  ALLELUIA, JESUS IS RISEN!  THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!

In Friday’s post I shared pics from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher over the most likely site of Golgotha and the empty tomb.  Just outside the current city walls there is another potential site where there was a rocky face that had the appearance of a skull and an empty tomb in a garden.  During our trip to Jerusalem last spring we visited this site.  Whether this site is the actual burial place or not, it much better depicts what it would have looked like.  I share these pics with you today in hopes that this Easter you experience God’s grace in a new and powerful way.  He died for you and He rose for you.  Lift up you heart, your hands, your voice to Him this day… and be thankful!



Picture from around 1900 of what the rock face looked like.  This was also beside a major road out of Jerusalem which was another necessary characteristic of the Roman's.  Crucify in a very public place to send a message to other would be rebels.

Picture from around 1900 of what the rock face looked like. This was also beside a major road out of Jerusalem which was another necessary characteristic of the Roman’s. Crucify in a very public place to send a message to other would be rebels.

Communion shared in the Garden Tomb.  Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me."

Communion shared in the Garden Tomb. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”









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Between the delivery of the promise and its realization is the “Tween Time”.  On Good Friday Jesus died.  Through the Holy Sabbath that followed the disciples, His followers, the religious leaders, even the Roman authorities lived in the ‘tween time.  Consider what each group must have experienced through this day of waiting.

His disciples were crushed.  They had lost their leader, their friend, the One they had left their lives and livelihood to follow.  They had thought He was going to become the leader who would set them and their nation free from Roman oppression.  They were Jesus’ closest friends and confidants.  Simply losing someone dear is a terrible shock.  But they had thought Jesus was so much more.  Now He was gone.

They were also very afraid.  It was bad enough that the religious leaders had it out for Jesus, but the Romans had actually carried out the execution.  And one thing about Roman justice when it came to even a hint of rebellion, they were not afraid to squash it ruthlessly.  If they had crucified Jesus because they felt He was a threat to Roman rule, then His disciples would soon follow.  Recent uprisings had seen not only the leader crucified, but dozens and sometimes hundreds of their followers crucified as well.

In varying amounts they were also ashamed.  They fled when Jesus was taken.  They were not able to stand this simple test.  Peter personified this sense of guilt for the group.  He promised to stand with Jesus going to the garden, but within just a few hours he had denied knowing Jesus even with an oath.

His other followers were bewildered.  They too had put their hopes in Jesus.  Many had experienced healing at His touch.  Others had been set free from demonic bondage.  Thousands had seen and experienced His miracles whether in the food that multiplied when He prayed or through sermons that touched the heart.  They knew these things that had happened were real… or at least they thought they were real.  How could it be that the One who demonstrated such power had so quickly been taken from them?

The religious leaders were a mixture of smug assurance that a very real threat had been eliminated and still a little wary since the impostor had spoken a number of time about “life after death”.  While they felt confident that Jesus’ death would put an end to this growing challenge to their power, they took steps to ensure no further complications could arise by the Galilean’s followers taking His body and saying He had arise.  They convinced Pilate to have the tomb carefully guarded.

The Roman authorities were probably not too terribly worried about the whole issue.  Pilate, for His part, was not particularly pleased that he had to stoop to being the pawn of the religious leaders in this incident, but his tenuous hold over this restive Roman province was predicated upon a good “working” relationship with the Jewish leaders.  As requested, a Roman guard posted at the tomb of this man, Jesus, was a simple final task in this unsavory business.  Soon the Passover would be over and he could return to Caesarea away from these religious fanatics.

On this Saturday everyone was convinced a climax had been reached, the curtain had drawn closed, and Jesus’ life and mission had been completed.  Jesus’ powerful presence had been the engine that was driving the movement and now He was gone.  While no one really knew what to expect a couple things were certain.  The religious leaders had stopped this movement by cutting off the head and the disheartened, frightened band of disciples and followers were certainly in no condition to keep it going.  This Jesus movement was a thing whose time had passed.

At least that is what they thought on Saturday in the ‘tween time…

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Only a small percentage of us approach the end of our earthly life with the clear-sighted focus that Jesus did.  Jesus came to this earth on purpose and with a purpose.  The culmination of that purpose was found in Holy Week.  Holy week is the pivotal week in human history and Easter morning is the crux of it all.  Sadly to many are not aware of the wonder of this glorious day or they are so distracted that they fail to prepare for it and miss the precious gift that it offers.  Today I offer a few tips to make the most of Holy Week.

First, if you are not aware, Jesus stands alone as unique among all persons who have ever lived.  Jesus was killed by the ancient Roman custom of crucifixion.  He was confirmed dead and put into the tomb owned by a Jewish leader, Joseph of Arimathea.  Jesus did not stay in the tomb though.  God raised Him up to life after three days.  This really happened.  It was foretold ahead of time by prophets.  Jesus said it would happen.  And literally hundreds of witnesses saw Jesus alive after His resurrection.  Jesus is the only person who has ever lived, died, and lived again in their earthly body.

There are points that critics bring up to try to dispute the fact of Jesus resurrection.  They all need a conspiracy of some sort to show why Jesus body has never been found.  Every single theory falls flat though when the evidence is analyzed.  In his book, Born Again, Chuck Colson who was a member of President Richard Nixon’s inner team explains how he was convinced that Jesus was resurrected.  President Nixon resigned in disgrace when it was learned that he knew about efforts to coverup involvement in certain illegal political activities.  Chuck Colson was in the small group who knew about this.  Chuck was among those that served prison time for their role in the coverup.  The fact that a small group of people faithfully committed to one of the most powerful persons in the world at that time couldn’t keep a secret was very telling.  Colson then draws a parallel to the 12 apostles, Jesus’ inner circle.  These men who were supposed conspirators in foisting the Jesus is Alive story all the while knowing they had stolen His body.  The fact that these 12 men went throughout the world spreading the story of Jesus resurrection.  The final end of 11 of the 12 was martyrdom.  They were executed for their faith and the message they proclaimed.  This is very telling.  A person may, and I emphasize may, die for something they strongly believe to be true.  But to die for something you know to be a lie, it doesn’t happen.  And for all of them to die for a lie takes immeasurably more faith than to believe the wealth of evidence that says Jesus truly is alive.

So point one as we approach Holy Week is that Jesus is Alive.  This brings on the question – So what?  What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean to me?  I mentioned before that Holy Week is the pivotal point in all of human history.  That is a huge statement, but I believe it to be true from both a sociological point of view and from a personal point of view.  I shared in one of my early posts about my conversion.  This speaks to how my life has been changed by Jesus.  My oldest daughter has recently found new life in Christ and she is writing about it in her blog growingthroughchrist.wordpress.com.  Since Jesus was raised from the dead, everything He said suddenly changes from good advice from a wise man, to words from God.  He is different from prophets.  Prophets occasionally spoke words from God.  They were still fully human and for that reason we can find prophets who make mistakes.  Jesus didn’t make mistakes.

Jesus was the sinless Son of God who came to earth with a very specific purpose.  He lived long enough to prove His deity.  He touched lives mainly within the Jewish people of that day.  But His primary purpose was culminated in Holy Week when He willingly offered Himself up as a sacrifice in our place.  Sin cannot go unpunished.  Sin separates us from God and if not atoned for, will keep us forever separate from God.  Jesus took our sin, my sin, upon Himself when He died on the cross.  Unless you have put your faith in Jesus, that sin is not atoned for.  I know that God works in our lives even before we come to faith.  Faith itself is a gift from God.  Faith is what happens when we trust God.

One last thing before I close for the day.  I have discussed Jesus with a number of people.  The one thing I have found is that no one has ever been able to refute the historical and logical conclusions of the evidence surrounding Jesus life and death.  I am an engineer.  I am wired to think in a logical way.  (Which at times drives my family to distraction.)  When based purely upon well researched evidence, a jury would have to say Jesus was resurrected from the dead.  (For excellent research on this topic read Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict.) In many cases where I have had this discussion, the person I was speaking with chose to ignore the facts in deference to their own world view.  In most cases they held a belief that contrasted squarely with biblical teaching on moral law that they were not willing to give up.  In other words they chose to build a world view that allowed them to do what they wanted and not try to find truth and then go where truth led them.  I have seen this enough to understand the powerful persuasiveness of sin.  But I also know the incredible freedom and joy that I now have through my relationship with God.

This is my encouragement to you.  As you approach Holy Week meditate upon the resurrection.  See if God is speaking to you about a life decision.  Ask Him to give you faith to believe for your next step in a relationship with Him.  If you do not have a church home, check out NewSpring.cc on the internet.  I pray this will be the most amazing Easter you have ever experienced.  God bless you today.

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