Acts 26–Pressing on toward the Mark

Paul continued upon his journey toward Rome. This day Paul stood before regional leadership of Festus and Agrippa.  He was to defend his behavior transforming from being the former Jewish enforcer to becoming the proponent of changing the world for Christ.  Agrippa had listened to Paul before but, now the Roman leader Festus heard Paul speak of his transformation.  At the end of the day, not much was different.  


Remembering that Paul had a single purpose is critical.  He was not out to win his freedom.  He was out to reach Rome and change the World for Christ.  Festus called Him crazy.  Why would such a gifted scholar waste his time giving a simple testimony of how Christ changed his Life? Paul was clear–I am not crazy, I am simply telling How God changed me.  Festus responded by asking if He thought he could so quickly convert him.  Paul smiled and replied he was not concerned about when he was converted–JUST THAT he was converted. 

 
Then Festus made the golden statement–If he had not asked to see Caesar, He would be free to go! Point was that he did ask, and as such, to Caesar Paul would go.  God’s plan executed with precision.  Paul said in Philippians that the Philippians did not need to be worried about his imprisonment in Rome.  Because Paul was in chains it had become clear throughout the entire Praetorian guard and everyone else that he was in chains for Christ.  One can only imagine the number of instances that Paul gave the testimony he spoke to Festus.


In the charge of the light brigade, Tennyson writes, “Ours is not to reason why, ours is just to do or die!” As warriors for Christ, We, like Paul, must charge forward and face the enemy no matter the cost.  If we will, he will lose, and we will make a difference in the lives of our family and our community.  We made be called crazy, fanatical, or even criminal; but truth is we cannot help but to share the difference Christ has made in our lives.


God Bless You


“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests, I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so, I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Acts 19 Part 1–Paul at Ephesus

Paul moved on from Corinth and ended up in Ephesus.  When He arrived in Ephesus he met up with some disciples.  They repented and accepted Christ, but only was baptised for repentence. Paul laid hands on the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit. They immediately spoke in tongues and prophecied.  Paul continued his ministry and grew the church in Ephesus.  He had an amazing ministry and even healed people by touching handkerchiefs and aprons and sending them out.  It was great two year ministry and provided great growth and stability for the church and region.

 How important did the Church become? Well Timothy became the pastor for a time. Then the Apostle John became the pastor for a time and was finally exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote Revelations.  Interestingly, the first church John reviewed in revelations was the Church in Ephesus.  That church was known as a great church that did great things.  John told them that they had simply lost its first love. 

Ephesus was significant in the group of churches.  The Ephesians taught us that it is not what we accomplish that makes us a Christian; it is our faith that redeems us.  Our acts and traditions do not improve our standing with God, we simply need to trust and love the Lord with our hearts.  It is also Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that reminds us that “It is by faith we are saved through faith, and not of ourselves.  It is a gift from God not of works lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.  The Church at Ephesus became a central church in the growth of the faith.  We see it was started because Paul continued his journey as God led Him.


God Bless You


While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Acts 16 Part 2–Big Changes, Big Conversions, and Big Battles

So, the Lord called the team to Macedonia. it was a new adventure far from the other cities they had ministered to.  When they landed in Philippi, the adventure continued.  It is interesting to note that this was the first instance where Luke spoke in the voice of first person.  in verse 11 Luke says WE made a direct voyage to Samothrace and in verse 12, WE remained in the city for several days. That is a significant change in perspective.  Luke was watching events unfold rather than reporting information he had gathered from others. 

 
Paul starts the adventure by leading a top businesswoman in the area to the Lord.  This would be a great thing in the days ahead.  Next, Paul freed a demon possessed girl, but in doing so, he cut off her owner’s income stream.  This, of course, caused much anger and retaliation.  Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed.  What was to happen next would be the beginning of a major revival. 

 
God continues to move and build in His way and time.  If we are faithful, we can be a part of what is happening.  Like Luke, we begin to see His plan in person, not just hear of God’s work from others.  With that, however, comes the spiritual battles that accompany spiritual activities. 

Knowing that, we must arm ourselves through prayer and study.  In addition, we must surround ourselves with fellow travelers to support our journey.  It was no coincidence that Dr. Luke accompanied Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  As Jesus told the crowds, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33.


God Bless You


11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the[d] district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Acts 14 Part 2–Rock Star or Heretic, God is Still in Charge

People are fickle.  Paul and Barnabus were literally being treated like gods.  They preached the Gospel, healed the sick, and the crowd loved it…well they did until they didn’t.  Paul and Barnabus told the crowd to cut it out.  They were just normal guys, like the rest of the crowd.  They continued to point back to God not to themselves.  Well, somehow the Jewish leaders in the area used that to stir the crowd up and change their mood from deifying Paul to killing him.  The next thing that we read is that the crowd stone Paul to what seems to be death and dragged him out of the town.  That could not have been pleasant.

The disciples were crushed.  Their leader was dead…or was he? Nope! Paul stood up and went back into town preaching and training leaders for the churches in the area.  Dr. Luke does not share details, but stoning is not a form of execution that one can easily fake.  God healed Paul.  There is no telling the amount of damage their stoning would have done to Paul, but Paul rose, went back into town, and carried on as if nothing had transpired! That was a miracle.

Each time I read one of the amazing stories of healing, I am reminded of 2 things.  First, God does not promise this journey will be easy, pleasant, or painless.  As soldiers in battle, we must expect opposition to take many forms and be in our path.  Sometimes we can easily confront it and move on, but other times, it will seem life altering and overwhelming.  We cannot see any way to get past it.  It is those times when God shows Himself the most amazing.  He promises to prepare, protect, and provide for His own.  What form that may take is often different than we would hope or expect.  When we see God’s handiwork, however, we know without a doubt it was Him all along.

Paul did not gloat or draw attention to himself upon His return.  Instead, he and Barnabus simply continued the work of the Gospel.  No fanfare, no revenge–simply showing grace and love for the people in the churches that the men helped to establish.  As our Lord’s soldiers, we must remember that serving God is simply not about us.  Whether we are being courted as Rock stars or stoned as heretics; we must focus on the Lord and His mission for our lives.  If we will, He will be glorified, and we will be blessed!

God Bless You


14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul Stoned at Lystra

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 13 Part 3–If Anyone is In Christ…

God used Peter to establish His intention to not only restore the Jewish people to a right relationship with God, but to offer salvation to all that would believe.  Cornelius was the poster child for God’s intention to save the entire world.  One need not forget that God set Israel apart not to be a nation of warriors, but to be a nation of priests and ambassadors for Him.  While Paul and Barnabus were preaching the Gospel in the synagogues, many devout Jews were hearing the Gospel and being saved. Still, the religious leaders were not happy and stirred up opposition among the prominent families, to stop Paul and Barnabus from sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people in the area.  During one such event, Paul declared to the crowd that while God was committed to making salvation available to the Jewish nation, He always intended to be available to all people.

  
It is important to know that God truly desires that no one would perish.  The Father sacrificed all that was precious to Him so that we could enjoy a renewed and personal relationship with the Lord.  Paul says in Romans, in Corinthians, In Philippian’s and in Colossians, here there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, Barbarian or Scythian slave or free. The point God wants us to grasp is that if we are in Christ, we are citizens of Heaven.  our earthly origins and nationalities are of no consequence once we join the family of God.  Paul and Barnabus were simply the first of countless men and women that have marched around the globe presenting God’s message of salvation to all that would listen.  We must see the world from God’s perspective to grasp the enormity of the Gospel’s scope and freedom.  The Gospel is divisive because the enemy does not want to admit defeat and will fight against God’s message at each front.  But the message is truly the most unifying message of all time.  It is best said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.” 


God Bless You


 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews[d] saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 12 Part 2–Herod’s Demise and the Gospel’s Global Spread

The Hubris of Herod.  He truly felt untouchable and immortal.  He killed the guards that lost Peter, He traveled to the land of Tyre to exert his authority over the people in Tyre and Sidon.  He sat on his throne and delivered a speech that even impressed himself.  Then, as the people began to deify Herrod, he not only let them, but was pretty sure they were right.  He was a god! That was the last thought He had before he died.  The Bible said He was eaten by worms, like a sick dog…not a very dignified way to die–but, probably better than he deserved.

After Herod’s death, the church was able to grow, and the gospel continued to spread.  Paul and Barnabus went to Jerusalem to deliver the money to the church and as they returned to Antioch, they took a third, John Mark–Mark of gospel fame. At every level, things were moving forward.  The church was spreading in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  Now that the veil between the Jewish nation and the gentile world had been pierced and the persecution subsided–The spread of the church was about to go global. 

It is amazing that now, almost 2000 years later, the Gospel is truly available across the globe.  We are as inspired to reach the world as were the young founding disciples.  God has blessed us with tools to complete the work, but it still takes each of us allowing God to work through us to make the saturation a reality.  We must embrace Paul’s attitude from Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe!”  Help me Lord to share your Gospel with boldness!

God Bless You


Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

The Death of Herod

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain,[b] they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from[c] Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

Acts 11 Part 1–A Nation of Priests

As Jesus selected His Apostles, He chose Peter very early.  Throughout the ministry, Peter both blessed Jesus with his loyalty and devotion, and, he frustrated Jesus with his impulsiveness and his simplicity.  But, from the start, it was always Peter that was 1st out of the gate and all in for every task.  Jesus needed a man like Peter to march forward into the battle without regard to the outcome. So, Peter marched forward into the home of Cornelius.  He preached the Gospel to the man, Cornelius’s family, friends, and close associates. They were saved, baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter then returned to Jerusalem to give an account for what had happened.  It is important to note that Jewish Law prevented such contact with gentiles.  Good Jewish folks were not supposed to associate with such people; much less help them to join the family of God.

Lest one forget, however, that was not God’s plan.  He built the nation of Israel to be His nation–a nation of priests.  The Father’s motive was always to restore the entire world back to fellowship with Him.  The Lord wanted all to know and have a personal relationship with Him.  The men in Jerusalem came to the meeting with Peter that day, to chastise Peter and possibly punish Him.  Yet, after hearing how God Himself called Peter to make the journey and preach the Gospel, there was only one step to take.  The Church would now carry the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.  This was and Is God’s mission until Christ’s return.  

For the Apostles, that meeting was mind-blowing.  It set the marching orders for the leadership to change their paradigm from a national relationship with God for the Jews; to a personal one for everybody who would accept the gospel.  We are the beneficiaries of that meeting, and, as we hear of mission efforts across the globe, we can point to this event as the catalyst for the movement.  Peter was the man and Jesus was the great gift to reunite all sinful people with a Holy God.  We like Peter need to trust God and share the Gospel with whomever God sets before us.  We need not make any distinction–because God did not!

God Bless You


Now the apostles and the brothers[a] who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party[b] criticized him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” But Peter began and explained it to them in order: “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Act’s 10 Part 2–Peter’s Faithfulness Was God’s Game Changer

What a dream! Peter had no idea that the picnic he was just attending was the precursor to God’s bigger plan.  Peter stood with Jesus as the Lord returned to His Father.  Jesus told the Disciples that they would be God’s witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  Peter was now faced with the opportunity to make that charge a reality.  

Cornelius Had served God and His people faithfully.  As the local Roman leader, he was kind and generous to God’s people. He sought God and followed as best as he was allowed.  Now, God would honor Cornelius’s faithfulness by giving Him and His household salvation. Peter was gifted with the opportunity to see the Spirit fall upon these people who were not Jewish.  How could that be, you ask?  Well, as the Lord had demonstrated to Peter, What God had prepared, no man would be able to call common, or unclean.

The Church stands in communities across the globe because of Peter and Cornelius’s faithfulness.  Paul was able to express the idea most clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any person ne in Christ, He is a new creation.  The old is gone and the new Has come.” Later Paul said in Colossians 3:11, “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian or Scythian, slave or free.”  Why? you ask, it is simple–because Christ is all and in all!

To whom and how Christ spreads His Gospel is only our responsibility to the extent that we remain obedient in sharing His message. Like Peter, ours is not to determine if someone is fit to hear the message of salvation, our only responsibility is to remain available and speak God’s truth in love.  He will do the rest, and we will enjoy the blessing that comes from following Him.  

God Bless You


 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation,[c] for I have sent them.” 21 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23 So he invited them in to be his guests.

The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends…
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Luke 24 Part 2–The Walk to Emmaus

Jesus was back! He had suffered and died for our sins. But just as the prophets had predicted, He rose on the third day.  News was starting to spread of the crucifixion of the Lord. Two men were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. During the walk, Jesus joined them.  the Lord acted as though He had not heard the news.  The men explained the week’s events and the furor those events caused.  Then Jesus spent the journey telling the men the prophetic signs and how the father let people know what was to come.

Jesus then stayed and joined them for dinner and when the Lord had broken bread and gave it to them, He revealed Himself and promptly disappeared.  They were amazed, informed, and now ready to face whatever and tell the world that Jesus was alive.  The men ran to the eleven and told them what had happened, all that Jesus said, and His breaking bread.  The eleven were amazed. Once again as amazing as it was, it was only the beginning.

Jesus’ resurrection changed the course of History. But at its beginning, those whom God planned to use, needed to see He was real, and His resurrection was also real. In the days that followed, Jesus would appear to more than 500 folks. I Corinthians 15:6. Jesus then ascended and sent His Holy Spirit in His place.  His Spirit indwells us and reminds us that He is with us, moment by moment.  If we will walk by faith, as the men did that day, we will see Jesus revealed in our lives.  That will be the most amazing journey of all.

God Bless You


13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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.