Luke 24–The Resurrection

It should have come as no surprise…Jesus rose from the dead just as He had promised. Oh, who are we kidding.  It was an amazing miracle that was almost impossible to believe, unless you had been there.  The women went to the tomb to prep the body for the long term stay in the grave; only to be met by angels reporting Jesus was no longer there. Then Peter ran to the tomb to find the graveclothes lying in a pile like yesterday’s laundry.  It had to be a mixture of terror and elation.  This Messiah had been killed.  they took the body down and placed it in the tomb merely days before.  Now, on this Sunday morning, when the week was to begin, Jesus was up and out.  In Luke’s account, we do not get the privilege of knowing guards had been stationed.  We do not read of the women seeing Jesus in the garden. (See Matthew 28).

Jesus’ resurrection was important and well documented. The faith of those that followed Jesus had been shaken to the core, but their love for Him and faith in His teachings led them back to seeing His completing His mission. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the confidence in things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV). That faith, while challenged, never left Jesus’ followers.  In fact, it would transform them from cowering refugees to world-changing evangelists and teachers. While they hid from punishment before, now they would face martyrdom and persecution until they were called Home.

We need to cling to the same faith that led his followers to the resurrection. Jesus would and did complete the mission.  That was truly not in question.  The entire history of the Bible confirmed that God accomplishes His plan in His time.  We must embrace the writer of Hebrews definition of faith, “confidence in things hoped for and assurance of things not seen”. When we do, we will better face the broken world and our personal trials and struggles.  Hebrews 11:6 says it best, “Without faith it is impossible to please God!” We cannot complete enough tasks, nor can we behave well enough to be redeemed by our own actions. 

We, like the disciples, must rely on the truth of His word to see His hand in our lives.  As we trust Him, Jesus will transform us into His image and prepare us for an eternity with our Lord.

God Bless You


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. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 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? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

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 22 Part 3–The End of the Beginning

Luke looks at Christ’s sacrifice from a great number of angles.  He looks at Pilate’s desperation as he longs to free Jesus, but, at the end of the day, caves to the pressure and hands the Messiah over for crucifixion. Next, Luke looks at the crowd.  The people that cheered only week before were hurling demands for their Hero’s death as if He had personally injured their families.  He showed the soldier’s disdain as they gathered a stranger to assist the Savior as his body had been beaten and bruised to the point of death.

Then Luke looks at the crowd, mourners for whom Jesus has pity. The thieves on either side of the cross.  The Jewish leaders and guards that mocked him with taunts and signs and finally Jesus’ followers that stayed back and watched with horror as their beloved teacher was being killed. Finally, we even see the grief of God as He makes the land dark and rips the temple vail.

In all of that, we also see Jesus. He is pleading for forgiveness of those that are mocking and killing Him. He is mourning for His mourners. He is granting life to the thief that recognized his innocence.  He is making one last effort in His role of human to be humane. 

Interestingly, Christ’s death would be the victory over the very ones that demanded it.  It would signify the end of sacrificial atonement of animals. It would destroy the theocracy then enjoyed by Jewish leaders of the day.  It would finally end Satan’s hold on the hearts of people. We who are yet sinners would now have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with God.

In life and in death, Jesus rose above the holds of humanity and demonstrated God’s unique love and unique character.  Then at the perfect hour, Jesus said it Himself–IT IS FINISHED! just as the modern Christian song says, that was the end of the beginning.

God Bless You


Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
    and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[b]

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Luke 9 Part 1–Now It Is Your Turn

It is difficult to grasp the enormity of what Jesus accomplished when He sent out the apostles to minister.  Remember, Jesus came to do several things.  He came to give folks a clearer picture of God– His heart, and His desire to have a personal relationship with people.  He also came to demonstrate the difference between being religious and being in relationship with God. Finally, He came to redeem our souls through His sacrifice and resurrection.

Today’s passage was His first real demonstration of God’s desire to make the relationship personal.  Jesus sent out the 12 to do what he had been doing.  The message to His guys was simple, “Go do what I am doing and do not take anything with you.  Let the people provide; and, if the reject you, shake the dust from your sandals.   Jesus wanted His disciples to know they were being prepared for something great. 

As they traveled through the countryside, they were healing and changing the world.  It was a miracle; it was a confirmation that Jesus was and is who He said He was.  Not only was He saving and changing lives, those that He appointed were also doing the same.  

As His chosen, we are called to do the same. We are told to go and make disciples of all nations.  We are told to be Christ’s ambassadors.  We are told to be content with our lives and know that we can do all things through Christ–who is faithful to supply all our needs. Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:20, Philippians 4:11-13. 19.  In short, we are to walk and live by faith as Christ and His disciples also lived.  We are to walk without fear.  We are to pray, seek and trust God to use us as He sees fit.  We are also to live in a way that is confident in His plan and His desire to prepare, protect, and provide for our needs.

He has been teaching His chosen that for millennia!

God Bless You

_____________________________________________


When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

Luke 8 Part 2–Lamps and Faith

Luke takes us through an average day with Jesus. He started with the parable of the sower–see yesterday.  After the parable, Luke walks through some scenarios.  First, is a reminder that we have the message of Salvation.  The good news.  Jesus tells his followers that kind of message is not kept secret.  We broadcast it like a lamp in its stand.  One should never be ashamed of the Gospel.  In Acts, Paul says it best, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God for salvation to all that believe!” 

Next, Luke highlights Jesus in the midst of the day.  His family had come and were trying to come in and see him. In Mark 3:21 it indicates they were coming to restrain Him.  So, Jesus says–nope! My family are the ones that put God’s word into practice.  It had to be a disappointment for Jesus, if anyone should have known His mission, His family would be the ones.  Sadly, pressure from religious leaders and community has an impact. So. instead, Jesus focuses on the mission and continues to preach, heal, and encourage.  

Next, after a tough day of ministry, Jesus heads across the Lake to the next spot .  He lays down to sleep while the team sails the boat.  A storm comes in and the boat is getting pummeled.  So, the disciples wake Jesus and tell him that they are doomed.  Jesus calms the storm with a word.  Then He looks at the group and shakes his head that they doubted God’s protection. And then goes back to sleep.  Jesus was always on mission and never out of control. What a day.

The message for us is the same.  We can never be ashamed of the Gospel.  It is God’s power in our lives.  We are His chosen.  As such, we need to follow Him and trust His plan.  I difficult times, we move forward in faith and trust that He is in charge,  if we will, we will be blessed beyond measure.

God Bless You


16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus Calms the Storm

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

No Other God Before Me–Exodus 20 Part 1

One of the truly great things God gave us was the Law. By any name, the 10 commandments put a framework around the two great commands—Love God and love one another.  In God’s direct discussion with his people, he set the tone of the discussion by stating the obvious—I AM the Lord your God—who brought you out of Egypt and bondage.  Clearly, he had the right to set some parameters to keep them free.

He spoke directly in the 1st 5 commandments about the love of God.  The 2nd 5 speak directly to love of each other. Each of the commands approach that love from a different perspective.  The critical point that God was trying to teach a free nation was– they could only remain free if they were willing to become selfless and humble.  So to put a fine point on the principle—God said—YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME. As they faced the mountain, the Israelites could easily see God was large and in charge. In the days ahead they would have to decide if each of their actions would put anything ahead of the God that freed them.

Today, we should ask the same question—what am I doing that God would perceive as putting another God ahead of him. We all face that question—Is God first. God knows that if we submit to him—he will make our lives full and free.  But the blocks we stack between us and him serve as walls to our own spiritual prison.  Each day we must be willing to look honestly at our lives and clear the blocks away—and embrace the idea that we shall have NO other God before the Lord our God!!!

God Bless You

And God spoke all these words, saying:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Table for 5000 Please–John 6 Part 1

Can you imagine the staggering impact Jesus’ question must have had on the disciples…How are we going to feed these folks. The buzz among his men must have been a mixture of shock and awe.  Clearly, there was no way either economically or logistically for the disciples to feed this crowd.  Yet, they have seen Jesus do amazing things every day.  So the brainstorming begins–it will take a half year’s salary, but that does not even deal with who will have that kind of supply! Andrew found a boy with a fish–kid’s meal–I am sure Jesus smiled at that one and said, “Okay, that should work!”

Remember, this same Jesus called the universe into being.  Light, earth, vegetation, sea creatures, birds, land animals and ultimately man. He has turned water into wine.  He has healed the sick, raised the dead, made the lame to walk and the blind to see. He has cleansed lepers, and astounded Rabbi’s–So what’s a little bread and fish among friends!!!

We need to remember–God has faced countless and impossible challenges for thousands of years.  He can handle the big ones like parting a sea or feeding a mob.  But, he takes equal care in  protecting his kids and meeting their needs.  He gets giddy about feeding a family.  But nothing brings him more joy than restoring that eternal bond with one of his own. We do not always know how God will execute his plan, but, with a little faith, we can rest easy that he is absolutely going to do so with excellence and power. What a guy to have a picnic with…right?

God Bless You

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Enough is Enough–Genesis 18 Part 3

It is never really all that close! God is a patient Father.  His desire is that none should perish.  So on the warm Canaan evening, when God told Abraham Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin was so flagrant that he was going to wipe it out, God did not make the decision easily or lightly.  God knew they were beyond redemption.  Nothing would please God more than seeing these people turn their lives around and follow him, but he knew I would never happen.

It is so easy for us to blame God for all that is wrong in the world.  When people suffer loss or are treated poorly, somehow it becomes God judging or arbitrarily doing evil to ruin lives.  Truth is the evil in our lives are usually a result of the world state and our personal choices.  We want God to somehow absolve us from the consequence–but, he does not. He allows the world and all in it to remain independent and choose.  But n order to do that, they have to live with the consequence. 

It is my prayer this last day of the year, that unlike Sodom and Gomorrah we are still redeemable and will repent and follow him.  He will forgive and restore us–if we follow him.  If not–we will fall.

God Bless You

So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”

22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

 

Almost, But Not Quite–Genesis 11 Final

What do we know about Terah?  Oh, he was Abram’s Dad…The sad news is that he was the first man called to Canaan! He scooped up his little family and left Ur–on his way to Canaan.  But somewhere along the journey, he decided to stop in Harran.  Don’t get me wrong–Harran was a nice place, it just wasn’t where God was leading him and his family.  It was a convenient sidetrack that stopped his journey.

So many of God’s chosen take off on the journey the father calls them to and in the midst of it get sidetracked and rendered ineffective. Work, kids, illness, and a host of little foxes enter our lives and nip at us.  We then wake up at AARP + years and wonder where the time went and why did we lose our vision.  God says–its OK! Start a new vision today.  Read the word, pray continually and seek ways to serve.  You may have missed Canaan, but you do not have to miss God!!!

God Bless You

This is the account of Terah’s family line.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran

An Impressive Resume–Revelation 1 Part 1

I often take for granted that God is so awesome.  He created all things.  He spoke a command and  the universe came into being.  He waved his hand and stars filled the sky; fish filled the sea; birds filled the air and creatures roamed the earth.

He is was and always will be.  He sees all, knows all and is all powerful.  He planned this journey back at the beginning of time and will execute it for eternity.  God is truly amazing.  He loves us individually and personally.  He knows us better than any other being and loves us for whom we are.  We would be literal fools not to want to follow him

God Bless You

John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]
    and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c]
So shall it be! Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Seeds and Soil-Mark 4 part 1

There is no better illustration of evangelism than the parable of the sower.  God’s message is told to a variety of folks.  Some reject it, some dabble, some try to ride the fence and some follow and allow God to lead.  The parable shows the impact on our lives.  It is really a parable of the seeds and soils.  The soils are us, the seeds the gospel and the various circumstances are life as we know it.  Jesus wanted the people to desire to be soil and want to bear good fruit.  He wanted them to understand that it was neither the message or the sower that controlled the fruit—but the soils.

2000 years later—it is still the soils.  If we fail to accept his message or try to dabble in it, we will never become strong in the Lord.  In addition, if we try to live with one foot in the world and one in Christ, we will be choked out and rendered useless.  It is only when we submit to his leadership and grow in our faith that we are truly able to see the amazing impact he can have on our world thru us.  We can choose to be Good soil by allowing him to prune, weed and nourish us through his word and godly fellowship.  Then as we share his love we see fruit just as he did.  Help me, Lord to follow your leadership and produce fruit.

God Bless You

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”