The Power of His Name

As we approach Resurrection Day in memory of Jesus Christ’s victory over death, the Book of John includes a message about the days of Christ’s appearing after His resurrection.   Simply, the Apostle John states his reason for writing the gospel book about Jesus:

30The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the Power of His Name. ~ John 20:30-31 NLT

In these verses it seems that John is making sure that the salvation message of Christ Our Redeemer is understood – We have Life by the Power of His Name!  That is the same power that broke Jesus free of the tomb!

The next Chapter (21) of the Book of John records the famous “Feed My Sheep” message from Jesus to Simon Peter.  As Jesus is waiting for his disciples to come to shore after fishing all night, it becomes clear there was no catch.  At dawn, Jesus appears to His disciples for the third time since His resurrection and begins to speak to the crew.  If we only copy the text containing Jesus’s words in verses 5-19:

“Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

(Nope)

Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!”

(Of course, the net immediately filled with fish.  The boat is about one hundred yards from shore and Peter jumps out, rushing to Jesus on the shore.  Amazingly, when Peter gets there, Jesus already has a meal of fish and bread cooked over an open fire!)

“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,”

“Now come and have some breakfast!”

Is it possible that Jesus is giving us a picture of what His Great Commission Plan should look like?

Hmmmm… catch some fish…

by sharing the Truth

He promises we will certainly experience a harvest of souls…

and then bring them to Him for a big breakfast that He already prepared ahead of time…

The marriage supper of the Lamb?

Wow!  By the Power of His Name!  (Not our power)

Later in the same chapter Jesus asks if Peter loves Him three times; in which case Peter responds that he does.  Jesus says,

“Feed My lambs”

“Take care of My sheep”

“Feed My Sheep.”

Then Jesus explains what it’s going to cost Peter to be an evangelist for Christ.  Sadly, Peter will be crucified.

18”I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and others will dress you and take you where you want to go.” 19Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow Me.” ~ John 21:18-19

“Father God, we pray for Your children who have suffered and given all to spread the message of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross to save the world from sin.  We also glorify Your Holy Name that Jesus arose from the grave and is alive today!  What a glorious testimony to all who will listen and repent of sin.  Thank you, Jesus, for loving us while we were yet sinners.  Thank You for giving us The Gift of Life by the Power of Your Name if we repent and follow You.  AMEN.”

Lily
Resurrection Day Blessings!

Practice Rejoicing

canstockphoto26288355

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4 NIV

The Apostle Paul wrote these words in his final message to the church at Philippi from prison.  I have become so negative in the past year I realize that I need to practice rejoicing.  What a difference I can make in God’s kingdom if only I will remember Paul’s message to believers:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:5-7 NIV

On Resurrection Day, the victory belongs to Jesus.  He conquered the grave, and the angels proclaimed to the women who discovered the empty tomb, “Do not be afraid! ” “Do not be afraid!”.

Jesus appeared to the women near the tomb and to His disciples later with greetings of “Do not be afraid!” and “Peace be unto you!”.

Today we can rejoice in our faith that Jesus is a Living Savior.  There are no decayed remains of Jesus in a tomb or grave somewhere in Jerusalem. We can rest in the knowledge that God’s Word records a world shattering event when Jesus rose from the darkness of the grave.  Jesus broke the chains of the penalty for our sins, and therefore salvation is free to all who believe in Him.  Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven today.  PRAISE GOD FOR SO GREAT SALVATION!

Even though the church is under attack  and believers suffer persecution for following Christ (over 900,000 Christians killed per year); don’t let anyone steal your joy as you observe Resurrection Day.  Celebrate the fullness of life in Jesus with family and friends and remain steadfast in your faith that Jesus is Risen.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

“I will practice, Lord.  I will practice rejoicing and enjoy your gift of peace.”

Thank you for following importantstuff.live!

Photo Credit: ©Can Stock Photo Inc/Zagorodnaya

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!