India Vs Bangladesh!

The partitioning of India is a tragic example of why Jesus hated “Religion”. It is perverted faith and used by government and the wealthy power structure of society to persecute the poor and the weak. Read the horrors of that time in this personal account.

Stranger on the Road to Emmaus

How could a personal friend of two men seem to be a total Stranger on the road to Emmaus?

Read Matthew 28:1-10, Luke 24, Mark 16:12-13, John 20:1-18 NIV

The Morning of Resurrection Day:

Mary Magdalene and other women visit the tomb of Jesus early on the third day after His crucifixion to discover that His body is missing.  Two angels are there and one tells them that Jesus has risen and go tell the others. As they are leaving, a man notices that Mary Magdalene is weeping and asks her who is she looking for?  She mistakes the man for a gardener and asks that if he knows where the body of Jesus has been taken, please tell her so she can go get Him.  She does not recognize that the man is Jesus, until He said her name, “Mary.”  She instantly recognizes Jesus, and the women run to Him, but He instructs them to go tell the disciples that He is risen.  They obey.

The disciples do not believe the women, but Simon Peter runs to the tomb and finds nothing but the burial linens of Jesus.  No evidence that Jesus has risen from the dead and no angels.  He leaves disappointed and perplexed.

The Road to Emmaus:

Then two disciples set off for a village about seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus.  On the way, a Stranger joins them.  As they continue to walk with the Stranger on the road to Emmaus, the Stranger casually asks what the two men are talking about.  His question stops the two men in their tracks.  One of the men, Cleopas, seems incredulous that this visitor has not heard the news:

Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?

What things?” He asked.

About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied, “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.  In addition, some of our women amazed us.  They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” ~ Luke 24:18-24 NIV

The Luke Gospel account states that they were kept from recognizing him (Jesus).  Mark’s Gospel account states that Jesus appeared in a different form.  Obviously, both men’s ability to recognize Jesus was altered supernaturally for a purpose.  Just like Mary.  Doesn’t this sound like a familiar pattern in the Gospels?  How many times have we read where the disciples, followers and crowds were spiritually dulled or blinded to the Truth?  Jesus spoke in parables and then explained the parables, and still, there was little discernment.  Throughout the ministry of Jesus the hand of God had veiled the minds of Jesus’ followers in order for His divine purpose to be fulfilled.  God was not taking any chances for humans, devils, or Satan to thwart His divine plan of redemption.  That veil remained in place until the fulfillment by Jesus of every Messianic Prophecy recorded in the Old Testament.  However, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, follower disbelief plays a part (these men have just left them – (the disciples who have heard from the women that Christ is risen, but doubt).

So we have evidence of disbelief by Jesus’ own followers.  The women do not believe the angels at the tomb. The disciples do not believe Mary and the other women.  But Jesus IS RISEN and appears on the road to Emmaus to set the record straight by being His own witness.  He calls the two men foolish, and expounds once again what the Scriptures foretold about Himself beginning with Moses and the Prophets.  When the three arrive at the village of Emmaus, Jesus stays for dinner at the invitation of the two men.  He breaks bread with them.  As soon as Jesus gives it to them, the veil drops from their minds and they recognize the Stranger as their very own Jesus of Nazareth.

And then He disappears!  Mission accomplished?  Well, not quite.

The Evening of Resurrection Day:

The two men hurry back to Jerusalem and announce to the disciples that the women are not crazy.  They have seen Jesus alive, too!

As soon as the two men share their astounding news with the disciples, Jesus appears with a greeting of,  “Peace be with you!”  Now all of the men recognize Jesus but think they are seeing a ghost.  Jesus patiently shows them the wounds on His hands and feet, and since they still do not believe it’s true (mostly from shock and joy), He eats a piece of fish and opens their minds so they can at last understand the Scriptures.  One detail recorded in John’s Gospel is that Jesus also breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, the are not forgiven.”  So Jesus immediately imparts authority to His disciples, once they believe that He is the True Messiah.

And then He disappears again!  Third time’s the charm, right?  Well, not always.

Read supporting scriptures John 20:19-30:

Time for a head count: Thomas was missing from the group when Jesus met with them, so there were ten disciples present plus at least the two witnesses that met up with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  Including the women who saw Jesus at the tomb site, the disciples have been told by two different groups of witnesses that Jesus is alive.  They have just seen Him appear before their own eyes in the flesh.   These disciples tell Thomas later that they have personally seen Jesus alive and the sad part?  Thomas doubts:

Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” ~ John 20:25b NIV

At the End of Resurrection Day:

So what has Jesus accomplished by the end of His Blessed Resurrection Day?  He has gathered His flock of followers and shared the Truth about Himself.  He has been the first witness to His own resurrection.  He has testified in person that He is, indeed, the promised Messiah who has conquered death and the grave.  The sheep have all become believers; not just followers.  All but Thomas.  Does Jesus leave it there and just let Thomas go on with his life in unbelief?  NO!  Jesus never lets go of His own!

Fast forward one week to all eleven disciples gathered in one room with the doors locked. Suddenly Jesus blows through the wall, stands before them, and greets the terrified men with, “Peace be with you!” (again, He doesn’t want to scare anybody).  Of course, Jesus has come there for Thomas – just like in the Parable of the Lost Sheep:

Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God.” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~ John 20:27-28 NIV

Yes, that is the best part of this story.  Jesus makes it so clear – not only to His disciples, but for all generations to follow.  In every case of  spiritual or even physical blindness (Paul on the road to Damascus), there is a joyous instant when the Light of recognition is allowed to shine through for every believing sinner.  That moment when Jesus is recognized in all of His glory!  It is the life changing moment of victorious realization over doubt.  Praise God!

You could say that this story is really about the “Doubting Thomas” – and yes, it is.  But we are all “Doubting Thomases” until we kneel at the feet of Jesus.  I believe that God is Wisdom.  He knew that without the meeting between two men and His Beloved Son on the road to Emmaus, an important opportunity would be lost.  It was necessary, for we all need to hear that personal testimony from Jesus Himself that all Scripture about His coming is fulfilled.  Until Jesus appeared alive and proclaimed Himself as the promised Messiah, He would always be a Stranger.  There would be no redemption, due to lack of faith resulting from lack of evidence plus corroborative testimony.  We need to hear from the two men on that road, who personally testified that they walked with, talked with, and saw Jesus in the flesh as He broke bread and handed it to them.  We need to hear from the women who saw, spoke with, and clung to His garments at the tomb site. We need to know that the disciples were convinced, and personally witnessed Jesus as risen and transformed bodily – that Jesus bore the wounds of the cross that they personally touched; that Christ ate real food but also had the power to pass through walls.  Without these events, there would only be a legend or myth today about a great prophet named Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God and was then killed; and the disciples and ultimately, the lost world, would have only kept doubting.

Jesus Himself testifies that HE LIVES.  Let there be no doubt!  There is no more reason to keep God’s plan a mystery.  Jesus finished God’s perfect plan of redemption.  The whole world has to know; both then and now.  Jesus showed plainly by His example to us that personal testimony is the way to share the Good News.

This is the reason there had to be a Stranger on the road to Emmaus.

 

Note:  For those interested in where this village of Emmaus may be located near Jerusalem, check out “The Identification of Emmaus” from Selective Geographical Problems in the Life of Christ, a doctoral dissertation by J. Carl Laney (Dallas Theological Seminary, 1977).

Photo Credit: ©Can Stock Photo Inc/nicku

 

He Has Done It!

There is no need to search for Jesus among the dead, for He is risen.  He has done it!

Just as heavenly angels pronounced His birth at Bethlehem, angels pronounced Christ’s resurrection from the tomb.

Posterity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim His righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” ~Psalm 22:30-31 NIV

Psalm 22 is the most descriptive Messianic Prophesy to me of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus himself quoted the first verse on the cross when He cried out,”My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Such haunting words were uttered in the depths of despair; as He who knew no sin felt the crushing weight of all human sin upon His shoulders; at a time when “I am poured out like water and all My bones are out of joint.” (verse 14). Yet Jesus was not doubting our Father in heaven.  He was, above all, accepting of the Father’s will.  But the Only Begotten Son of God had never been so far from the Father as at that moment on the cross – poured out; emptied.

Friends, the basis of our faith now is that Jesus is alive and restored to the Father in heaven. It is only the tomb where Jesus lay that is empty. Praise God Almighty!  There is no greater salvation under heaven whereby we may be saved, than this perfect and powerful sacrifice performed by the Holy Son of God, Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.  He overcame death, the grave, and hell as He arose from the tomb; transformed, victorious and KING OF KINGS – LORD OF LORDS!

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20 NIV

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY for HE HAS DONE IT!!!

WE are the future generations living at the very end of the age before Christ’s return to earth.  When He comes, He will reign over earth for one thousand years as King of Kings. According to God’s Word, His followers will reign with Him in a restored world full of peace. There will be no war, and the lion will lie down with the lamb.

Is He your King? He invites you to give your heart and soul to Him, for He forgives all sin, restores all life, and heals all wounds.  If you have questions about how to accept Jesus as your personal savior, click this link.

God Bless and thank you for following ImportantStuff.live!

What is Love?

Shouldn’t we understand the meaning of love in order to love?  There have probably been more songs written about the subject of love than any other topic.  Entire libraries and art galleries have been filled with inspiring works about love.  But what is love anyway?

Jesus left us with this parting message during the Last Supper:

34A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
 ~ John 13:34-35 (NIV)

The greatest definition of love that satisfies my heart and fulfills the entire law of God Almighty was written by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth. Corinth was a corrupt city whose system and culture was driven with idolatry and immorality.  Believers at Corinth were struggling with divisions, as some were falling prey to the influences of their environment – trying to blend their newly found faith in Jesus with the old traditions of “enlightenment” (what is right is wrong and vice versa).  Other church members at Corinth were feeling the crunch of living for God in heathen surroundings.  The spiritual warfare must have been intense!

Doesn’t that resemble the church today?  But Paul was inspired by God to reach out to them with this treasured poetic teaching on God’s perfect love that has stood the test of time:

1”If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries
and all knowledge, And if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
3If I give all I possess to the poor
and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy;
It does not boast, it is not proud.
5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.
7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there are is knowledge, it will pass away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
11When I was a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child. When I became a man,
I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love,
But the greatest of these is love.” ~ I Cor. 13 (NIV)

I wish this scripture on love would be broadcast on the news channels, social media, and printed in every newspaper every day.  I wish that it would be the highest ranking bit of propaganda ever spread throughout the nations; because true love really is world-changing.

That’s what love is – world-changing!

 

Another thought: When our time on earth is done, will we be remembered for having a heart poured out in true love?

God bless and thank you for following ImportantStuff.live.

Living Water at the Well

Jesus stopped at Jacob’s Well located at Sychar while traveling through Samaria on His way from Judea to Galilee (John 4:1-42 NIV).  He was tired and thirsty.  It was about noon, and His disciples had gone into town for food.  When a Samaritan woman came by to draw water from the well, Jesus asked if she would give Him a drink.  At first she questioned His intentions, since it was not the custom of Jews to interact with Samaritans.  Jesus simply stated that if she knew who she was speaking with, she would have asked Him for a drink of water; and He would have given her Living Water.

Jesus the Sower:

Most people have heard this story, but many only remember about the sins of the woman, since she admitted to Jesus that she currently had no husband, but had been married a total of five times.  But this story is really about how Jesus worked His ministry here on earth.  It is about sowing the seeds of Truth, and reaping a harvest of souls.  The divine appointment between the woman and the Holy Son of God at Jacob’s Well was just the opportunity Jesus used to sow His Good News to a whole town of Samaritan residents .  Jesus already knew about the marital history of this woman.  She confessed that what Jesus said about her was true, and He agreed with her honesty about it.  She recognized Jesus as a prophet but her reaction was doubt.  She evaded the topic of Living Water that He introduced.  Realizing that He knew personal details of her life may have made her uncomfortable or distrustful of how those facts played into the mysterious Living Water topic Jesus mentioned.  Instead of being immediately receptive to His Word, she changed the subject to a long standing controversial religious topic .

20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. “

Jesus patiently explained that neither place is a valid location for true worship any longer.  She must have been shocked when Jesus said,

23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Jesus had just made an earth-changing prophetic statement, and she blew it off.  Of all things!  A prophet who sounds like a false teacher! – One who speaks with authority claiming the only acceptable worship to God is something called “worship in the Spirit and truth”!

25The woman said, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” 26Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you – I am He.”

Whereupon the disciples returned with lunch, and the woman made her hasty escape; leaving her water jar at the well.  She missed the most perfect opportunity of a lifetime to ask important questions of the True Messiah, for He had just told her, in effect: “You are speaking to Him.  What would you like for Me to explain?”  Instead of receiving His teaching right then and there (perhaps intimidated by the arrival of the Jewish disciples), she dropped everything and ran straight into town.  She spread the news that a prophet had just arrived at Jacob’s Well claiming to be the promised Messiah; and convinced the town folk to follow her back to the well for further investigation into the matter.

39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

It sounds like they only believed that he was a prophet of God, however.  Jesus stayed two days at Sychar at the invitation of the Samaritans in order to teach them the Truth about Himself – That He IS The Living Water.

Jesus the Reaper of the Harvest:

41And because of His words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

See, the woman only spread the news that a convincing prophet was traveling by, and asked the townspeople to investigate as to whether he might be the promised Messiah.  “Is not this the Christ?” she asked of them.  I have to believe, as do many Bible scholars, that the Samaritan woman truly accepted Jesus as her Savior Messiah at some point during His visit to her town.  The scripture account does not specifically say either way, but she did testify of Jesus to others, and because she blew the shofar, so to speak, many became believers.  Aside from John the Baptist, she is known as one of the first or possibly the first witness for Jesus as the Messiah.  Her example for spreading the news of His arrival has been told for centuries. This story of a woman who took immediate action and verbally testified of her meeting Jesus, has inspired thousands of believers to share that Jesus is the Messiah.

I am not surprised that many more believed that Jesus was the Messiah than the first bunch of “prophet followers” after the whole town heard His complete teaching on Living Water. That was His true purpose for stopping in Sychar and asking a Samaritan woman for a drink of water.  He used the woman to announce His coming into the town.  He wanted to give a drink of Living Water to as many as would believe more than He wanted to be given a drink of well water.

Through Personal Testimony:

In verse 37, while the woman was heralding the town for a trip back to the well to confront Jesus about who He was; Jesus had just spent his lunch teaching His disciples about the truthful saying, “One sows and another reaps”.  Yet Jesus was not only the Sower in this story, but He was also the Reaper of the harvest.  Here is a wonderful example of Christ’s zeal for serving the Father.  He did the Father’s work, and did it with perfect completion.  He gave His own personal testimony to the world.  He planted.  He taught the Truth.  Before He left town after a two day visit, He reaped a big harvest for God’s kingdom.  Jesus showed us that personal testimony is crucial to sharing the Good News of His Gospel.  Throughout His ministry He taught new believers to give personal witness to His works of healings, miracles, signs and wonders; so that many more would believe.  HALLELUJAH – PRAISE HIM FOREVER MORE!!!

Sharing the Good News:

Have you believed in Jesus, The Living Water?  If not, I encourage you to trust Jesus with all your heart now, for today is the joyful day of salvation.  Here is a helpful link:

sunny smile

God bless.

The Eastern Orthodox Church tradition about the Samaritan woman at the well is found at wikipedia.com under Interpretations.  The traditions tell of her faith, baptism, persecution, and martyrdom.  Interesting stuff.