May 10, 2020 - Mother's Day WAYS TO LOVE YOUR MOTHER John 19:25-27 In this passage I just read we see something that I am certain no mother would ever want to see…her son dying on a cross. If you can imagine how Mary felt I am certain it had to be quite hard for her. Jesus then turns to John and tells him to take care of her. Then he looks at Mary and tells her to let John stand in His place as her son. John lived a very long life and I believe he took care of Mary until she made her way to heaven. We see Jesus on the cross, bearing the weight of the sins of the world on His shoulders, yet He makes sure His mother is taken care of after He is gone! As God, Jesus is dealing with eternal matters, but as a man, He was showing all of us today how important it is to take care and love our mothers. For those of you whose moms are still alive today I want to share some ways you can love your mom! Love her verbally. Most men have this philosophy – I don’t have to say I love you, you already know it. Perhaps a man might say, I have told you before, if I change my mind, I will let you know! Or, I show love, not just say it…and that may be true, but a woman, even your mom, needs to hear those words, “I love you!” Our wives and our children need to hear it…and saying it make you more of a man, not less! Ladies, you need to say it as well! I know it is much easier for you to say those words so don’t let up!! Love her physically. When is the last you gave your mom (wife) a big hug without her asking for it? Or a kiss on the cheek, or a neck rub, or just sat on the couch and held her for a change? Remember that when you were born her first priority was to hold you (and count your fingers and toes), an she cuddled you, stroked you head, rubbed your feet, held your cheeks against her, and gave you a finger to grasp. She did all these because of her love for you! She changed your diapers, potty trained you, and held the Kleenex tissue for you to blow your nose! She wiped the food off of your face years longer that she should have and even groomed you with a licked finger! She constantly touched you and you today need to know that she deserves your touch and she should never have to give that up ever! Love her patiently. Moms have an incredible job with no pay. No positions in the business world can compare to the physical, emotional and spiritual commitment she has in motherhood! Don’t ever make the mistake of asking a lady, do you work, or do you stay at home? Many of you moms today have to work on top of being a fulltime mom! Love her patiently. Teens, it is unfair for you to be more kind, considerate and patient with your friends and your friend’s mothers than your own mother! For us adults with living mothers: Really love her patiently. Dr. James Dobson read a letter from an 80 year old woman on her birthday: To all my children, I suppose my upcoming birthday started my thoughts along these lines. This is a good time to tell you that what I truly want are things I can never get enough of, yet they are free. I want the intangibles. I would like for you to come and sit with me and for you to be relaxed. We can talk, or we can be silent. I would just like for us to be together. I need your patience when I don’t hear what you say the first time. I know how tiresome it is to always be repeating, but sometimes I must ask you to repeat. I need your patience when I think too much about the past, with my slowness and my set ways. I want you to be tolerant with what the years have done to me physically. Well, there you have it: time, patience and understanding. Those are the priceless gifts that I want. Finally, in this letter, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me.” I know I can too! It’s a wonderful feeling to know His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me. I guess being old isn’t so bad after all! Love, Mom Love her gratefully. An elementary science class had been studying magnets and how metal objects are attracted to them. At the end of the semester the teacher put this question on the exam: 6 letters, starts with a “M”, picks up things, what am I? Over half the children wrote…mother! Love her generously. There’s nothing too good for her, we could never repay her, but we ought to die trying before she does! She did not spend on herself unless all your needs were met…she could easily do without, and not it is time for her to have something she wants! She clears her schedule so she can run you around…she gives up her opportunities so you can have more opportunities! Let me ask you a simple question today. If there’s 10 people at the table and only one apple pie, how much does each one get? The answer is 1/9th because if there are that many at the table, she will not have a slice of pie! Lastly, love her honorably. Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your god is giving you.” This is binding as long as your parents are alive. Another command says, children, obey…non-binding when you leave home, but “honor” is different! If the husband is the head of the home, then the mother is the heart…don’t break her heart! If you look at the 10 Commandments this one is the only one with a built-in promise of blessing! Let me close with something that Erma Bombeck wrote back in 1974 called, When God Created Mothers: When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one." And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands." The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way." It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have." That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded. One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word." God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...." I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower." The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed. “But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure. Can it think?" Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator. Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model." It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear." “What's it for?" It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride." You are a genius, " said the angel. Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.”
May 3, 2020 A CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS 1 Peter 2:5 Over the last 5 weeks we have been, as well as others, a church without walls! We have not met within the confines of these walls and not sure how long that will last but we know that the end is coming. Now when I think of a church without walls my mind kind of goes to those who are doing ministry that does not necessarily need a building or church! I have a friend of mine and his wife who work in Southern California with a worship and compassion ministry in San Diego reaching out to Tijuana Mexico and the Native American Reservations. What they are doing is being the church without walls! We have been doing ministry outside the walls of this church by using Facebook Live. We are reaching and sharing the gospel outside the walls of this church! Did you know for us to become a literal “church without walls” we need to do a couple of things. Understand that this is not comprehensive but a couple of thoughts I had to perhaps stir us on to become a “church without walls”! I believe the first thing we need to do is SEE! Jesus speaks to us in John 4:34-38 about seeing what is around us. Too many times we look but we do not really see! In these verses we see the disciples are worried that Jesus has not eaten, and He responds by telling them He has food to eat that they are not aware of. Of course, now the disciples are thinking someone must have brought Him some food. Jesus responds by telling the disciples that His food is to do the will of the One who sent Him and to finish His work. Jesus takes it a step further by then asking the disciples about the harvest and in the latter part of v. 36 says, “’I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.’” Jesus tells the disciples to open their eyes and look around. These words are not just a one-time look, but a continuous look and it means to see with our physical eyes. Jesus is not just asking them to look…He is commanding them to look around and see what is among them! This is what Jesus wants them to see: The fields are ready to be harvested. There is no time for procrastination the time is now! Proverbs 11:30 says, “The godly are like trees that bear life giving fruit and those who save lives are wise.” Daniel 12:3 says, “Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who turn many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.” Jesus wants them to see the harvest, which is the people. If this generation is to receive the gospel, this generation must get it to the people. This is what we have been doing over the last 5 weeks. We are using a different mode of transmitting the gospel and it is reaching people!! We need to see the potential in reaching others for Jesus! Then Jesus wanted them to see that others have worked ahead of them helping prepare the way, but there is still work to be done! If there is to be a harvest, there must be a sowing as well as reaping, and both of these involve hard work. This is what happens: the one sowing sees the promise of the end in the beginning; the one reaping realizes the results of the beginning in the end! Psalm 125:5-6 says, “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy! They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” The second thing we need to do is SHINE! In Matthew 5:14 Jesus says, “’You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.’” We need to be a church with Radiant light. John 8:12 says, “Jesus said to the people, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you will not be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to truth.’” Many years ago, Brenda and I took a Youth Group to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. It was a wonderful trip, but an interesting thing happened when we took the 4-mile, 4.5-hour tour. We reached the halfway point where you could use the restroom, get some drinks and sit for a little while. As we were waiting to move on one of the Park Service rangers asked if everyone would sit on the benches. He asked that no one move once they were seated. He then explained that he was going to have all the lights turned off and not to get too excited because he would turn them back on. Once the lights were turned off you could place your hand on your nose and not see it…it was that dark. The park ranger then spoke a few words and then he lit a match. That whole cavern lit up like a candle…it was amazing as we looked around and could see each other with just a match. He went on to tell us that we had only been in the dark for 15 seconds and seemed like forever! We need to be a radiant light for Jesus…lighting up the darkness for people to find Him! We need to be a Radical light. Why? Because we have become apathetic and lazy. Dr. Jim Feeney puts it this way, “To be radical we need to be more zealous, ardent (passionate), fully committed and devoted to Christ.” (www.jimfeeney.org) We need to be a Ravishing light. The word ravishing means pleasing or attractive. The Christian faith is similar to stained glass windows…from the outside they are nice but, on the inside when the light shines through them they are unspeakably beautiful. During a sermon, a pastor asked a reflective question to the congregation, “And what is a saint?” A little boy looked up at the stained-glass windows of the apostles and blurted out, “People who let the light shine through!” While you are sitting at home this morning, I would like for you to sing a children’s song with me called, This Little Light of Mine. We are only singing the first line, so here are the words: This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. What do we see when we look at the people around us? Do we see people as they are or do we see them as God sees them? Jesus saw them not as they were, but as they could be by grace! What do the people see when they look at us? Do they see a church full of people more into themselves where the light has dimmed to almost nothing? Or do they see a vibrant, alive church that is sharing the light of Jesus, which is radiant, radical and ravishing?? Let us be the church without walls a church like Peter wrote, “…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…”
April 26, 2020 SEIZE THE MOMENT Galatians 6:9-10 I am sure you have heard this idiom, “Carpe Deum” or “seize the moment!” For some people they may not know what that means so let me give you the short version…it means to make the most of the moment you are living. “You could take it as being the opposite of letting opportunities pass you by, of hesitating and doubting. If you seize the moment, you are not only grabbing the opportunities that comes with both hands, but you are also creating your own [opportunities]…” (www.quora.com) This morning we have opportunities that have been laid before us in many ways. These opportunities are spoken of as I read in Galatians 6:10 where Paul says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good for all people…” Our opportunities can range from something good to something ugly and these opportunities are carried out by our choices. Now opportunities and choices are very similar because as an opportunity presents itself then we must make a choice and remember that not making a choice is still a choice!! As we gauge our spiritual walk with Jesus we are, also, presented with opportunities that we can choose to accept or not accept. Sometimes the opportunities that present themselves are temptations that come from our enemy. We can choose to allow temptation to overcome us or we can, through the power of God, resist that temptation. We are in uncharted waters today as we think about all that has happened over the last five weeks. We are re-learning how to conduct church services without any people in the sanctuary. We are conducting meetings in ways that most churches have never conducted meetings! Everything that we are doing right now is something that we are trying to learn and to expand in sharing the gospel of Jesus! I believe today that we have been given this “gift” as an opportunity to take advantage of or to just seize the moment! Let me share this morning one opportunity that we should avail ourselves of, though there are many this one really stands out to me this morning: The Opportunity to Build Relationships In our walk with God we really need to draw closer to Him. We live in a microwave society where everyone is in a rush to do all the things that need to be done in a day in a short span of time! We have worked ourselves silly, we have been so busy that we have placed God on the back burner, we have not taken the time to spend with Him through His Word and prayer and we have forgotten what it is like to just take our Sabbath-Rest. The writer of Hebrews pens these words in vs.9-10 found in chapter 4, “there remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work just as God did from his.” I believe God is letting us know that we need to seize the moment and enter His rest! In Genesis 3:8, Adam and Eve heard the sound of the LORD as he walked in the cool of the day. This lets us know that the walk with God was an everyday occurrence. Can you imagine just taking a walk with God and listening and sharing with Him the things that are going on in your life today? What were Adam and Eve doing…building relationships. What are we doing today?? The answer is up to you this morning! Later in Genesis 5:22-24 we see that Enoch walked with God for 300 years. Enoch was building his relationship with God during those many years. In doing so I wonder if God might have said to Enoch these words, “Enoch, I have so enjoyed our walks together, why not come to My house and walk on the streets of gold with me! What happened is, boom, he was translated into God’s presence. Talk about building a relationship. We should all have that type of relationship when Jesus just whispers our name and He has our attention! David’s life was a road filled with so many tears and yet through it all David had the great opportunity to know, to serve and to build a relationship with God. Luke writes in Acts 13:22, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Yes, David was a great king even through all his failures He seized the moment to build up his relationship with God and God honored him for it! Let’s move ahead out of the OT and NT to the 21st century…to the year 2020. Today we live in a time with diseases and viruses making inroads into our daily, normal lives. Building relationships during this time will take more effort on our part because of the restrictions placed on us by the COVID-19 virus. I believe we need to not only build better relationships with our families, but we definitely need to build better relationships with God! We have that opportunity and we need to seize the moment today! This time will pass and if we have not taken the time to grow and mature not only with our families, but in our spiritual life we will miss the opportunity to share what God has done for us with others! Before we had the shelter in place it sure seemed like we were constantly on the go. I can attest to the go, go, go mentality. I am sure most of you can understand the go, go, go! Sports, rodeos, school, work, etc. kind of took over our lives and it just seemed like the only time it slowed down was before we went to bed, but then the next morning we would hit the floor running! Perhaps, God is giving us the opportunity to seize the moment to not only grow closer to our families but to Him as well! I am not taking away from those who are going through this horrible virus and the deaths that has taken place. I think we all need to slow down and take that Sabbath-rest and now we have this opportunity to do so but understand this, it is our choice to do so or not to do so!! I thought of some things we should be doing during this seizing of the moment! Let me share these with you: We need to get to know each other better family wise. We can get so caught up doing wonderful things for our family that we have forgotten that we are family and we need to spend time together so we can build healthier relationships. This, also, pertains to our spiritual family. I understand that for now we aren’t able to meet, but when that time passes, we need to reach out to each other and build spiritual relationships. We need to build a healthier relationship with God and take advantage of the time we have now! Spend more time with God in prayer, reading His Word, taking those walks and just spend time alone with Him. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”! How often have you just spent some alone time with God just to know that He is God, just to know that He still hears your prayer, just to know that no matter what is happening around us today…He is still in control? Learn to rest today…spend time just resting, not only physically but spiritually, as well. Learn to slow down and literally “smell the roses.” This time will soon pass, and we need to be firmly rooted and grounded in God and this, folks, is the time when we need to seize the moment!
April 19, 2020 THE ENCOUNTER Luke 24:13-35 Our story begins today with two men walking along a road toward a town about 7 miles northwest of Jerusalem called Emmaus. These two men, one named Cleopas, had been followers of Christ. They had heard Him speak, heal and die! There was a report that some women went to His tomb and He was gone but they weren’t sure they believed what they had heard. Their hope was that Jesus would free His people from the Roman oppression but, alas, their hopes had been dashed when Jesus died on the cross. Their dream of freedom and victory was gone! In reality they were blind to the truth about Christ, to the meaning of the cross and to the reality of the resurrection! To be honest with you, the concept of the resurrection lies at the heart of Christianity. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed. If we cannot believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, then our belief in Christianity is worthless! Pastor Jim Perdue says this, “The resurrection of Christ affirms to us that He is indeed the Son of God, just as He claimed to be…” (www.preaching.com) Let’s look at this Easter Sunday evening with these two men who had an encounter with Jesus and determine why these two men were blinded to the truth of the resurrection. I think the first thing is their emotions bottled them up! If we were to put ourselves in their place, I think we can see that these men’s lives had been extremely emotional over the last 3 days. Their emotions were like a roller coaster…up and down and down and up! It was a discouraging time and even though they were followers of Christ and were devoted to His teachings their hopes had been ruined because their Deliverer had died! So here they are on the road to Emmaus and while they were discussing their views, lo and behold, in the latter part of v. 15, “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.” Imagine you are talking with someone about the events of the life and death of Christ with questions like…did he really rise again, did people really see Him, etc. and out of nowhere Christ comes and begins to walk with you! In v. 17 the Amplified Bible states it this way, “And He said to them, what is this discussion that you are exchanging (throwing back and forth) between yourselves as you walk along? And they stood still, looking sad and downcast.” If we look at the word “exchanging” it literally means they were having “an animated heated conversation.” Cleopas and the other man were not just talking they were arguing with each other. Many times, we struggle with faith, facts and feelings! Don’t get me wrong feelings and emotions aren’t bad…God gave them to us for a reason! But, also, understand that we are not intended to place our faith in our feelings, we place our faith in the facts we find in God’s Word! How can we let our emotions blind us to the things of Christ? Some of us, like those two men, allow our feelings to affect our faith negatively. How could we possibly believe that someone was raised from the dead? What would others think if we told them that He rose from the dead? They were believers but somehow their spiritual eyesight and faith was blinded by the events of the last 3 days. Perhaps the question they asked themselves is how can we believe that Jesus rose from the grave when we haven’t seen Him? It would be somewhat amusing if they did ask that question when Jesus, the resurrected, was right there with them. To be quite honest I think there are many times, even in the 21st century, that we are blinded to the truth by our emotions. Today Christ could be walking right beside us, talking to us and we wouldn’t even know it!! The writer tells us in Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to entertain stranger, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” The second thing is they allowed their circumstances to blind them. These two men were so blinded by what had happened they couldn’t see God’s purpose unfolding right before them. After Christ asked what words they were “exchanging” with each other Cleopas basically asked, “What rock have you been under?” He wanted to know how Jesus could not know what had happened over the last three days. Cleopas figured most if not all people knew what had happened in Jerusalem. Jesus’ response in v. 19 was, “’What things?’” This is kind of a funny response since they were talking to the resurrected Jesus! These men had seen Jesus before his accusers, paraded down the streets of Jerusalem, nailed to a cross and then ultimately die. How could this same Man be walking down the road with them to Emmaus? You see they were so caught up in the circumstances of the last three days they couldn’t see the victory of the cross because they were blinded by its injustice. They couldn’t see the power of the resurrection because they were blinded by their experience. To be honest with you we, today, can go through similar circumstances and be blinded to who Christ is! We can have everything we could ever want in life: nice car, nice home, nice family and not see our need for God. On the other hand we can be struggling to make ends meet and each day brings a new challenge and disappointments. When these times come, we ultimately begin to blame God and cannot see our need for Him. It doesn’t matter which situation we are in…our circumstances blind us to the need for God! What it has done is formed a barrier that clouds and distorts our view of God! Horatius Bonar said, “In all unbelief there are these two things: a good opinion of one’s self, and a bad opinion of God.” (www.christian-quotes.com) The last thing is their unbelief blinded them. They couldn’t imagine someone being raised from the dead though Lazarus had been raised from the dead as well as many others, but this was Jesus…who raised Him from the dead?? I am sure they experienced Christ’s teachings about His resurrection, but they were blinded by their unbelief. The problem wasn’t in their heads it was in their hearts! They did not believe the promises about Christ written in the Old Testament. Haven’t you ever made this comment, “Wow, I can’t believe that happened!” It is hard for many people to understand how Christ could love and forgive us when many times we cannot forgive ourselves for what we have done! These guys were blinded by their unbelief. Oswald Chambers said, “The great paralysis of our heart is unbelief.” (www.greatsayings.net) What these two men needed was a fresh anointing and understanding of God’s Word and Jesus provided it as they were walking to Emmaus. All of a sudden their eyes were opened to Whom they were talking to. Now I love this part of the story in v. 32 that says, “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” Too many times we allow unbelief to blind us to the truth? Think about this: Columbus was told the world was flat but that didn’t keep him from finding out or you’ll never win didn’t stop our forefathers from purchasing our freedom. Let’s not allow unbelief and our lack of faith to blind us to the greatest adventure life has to offer! Let me close with this thought: If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Christian faith is a foolish fantasy. However, if the resurrection of Christ did occur, it confirms His life, message, and atoning work. It is the basis of our hope beyond the grave. Don’t be blinded by your emotions, your circumstances or your unbelief. Open your eyes to the truth of Christ. God emptied Heaven to fill the manger He emptied the manger to fill the cross He emptied the cross to fill the tomb He emptied the tomb to fill your heart. Let this be my challenge to you this week: Take time this week to open your eyes to His truth and ask God to reveal Himself to you like the men on the road to Emmaus!
April 12, 2020 THE FIRST EASTER Luke 24: 1-12 Easter always has been one of my favorite holidays. It was cool getting some new clothes (usually handmade by my mom), having Easter Egg hunts and finding candy in plastic eggs. It was, also, beginning to get warm, which was nice in east central Indiana! We knew spring was coming and the last day of school wasn’t too far ahead! As most of us know, Easter is about something much different. We can’t always expect young kids to appreciate what Jesus did for us as much as we older believers have come to realize. There was the awful fact that He—the Lord of glory—gave up His life for us because He loved us. We can’t forget that He rose from the dead so we might have eternal life and salvation. It’s sobering when we realize many people either don’t know, don’t care or haven’t heard about this wonderful news—Jesus was dead, but He is alive forever! Let’s look at Luke 24:1-12 in our Bibles. While you’re turning there, please keep in mind Jesus had been crucified three days before this day, that He had told the disciples repeatedly He would rise on the third day (after He was crucified), and that none of the disciples or other followers really believed He would come back to life. But the proof of this is right here in this passage. The first one is that these women returned to the tomb. Why? They knew Jesus was dead. They had seen, or at least heard, this terrible news. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were there at the foot of the cross. John, at least, had heard Jesus say, “I will rise again” or words to that effect many times, but he still didn’t catch it—not until later, anyway. Perhaps those ladies didn’t know Nicodemus had brought 100 pounds of myrrh and aloe to preserve the body because, according to verse 1, they brought other spices along with them. Why? They clearly didn’t know, or didn’t believe, Jesus could be alive—not after what He had been through. I won’t go into the details of crucifixion—other people have written and given verbal teaching about this—but we can agree this was the most horrible way to die. We should be glad our Lord Jesus, who was absolutely sinless, absolutely perfect in every way, suffered the worst form of death for us. Nobody can, or should, say they’re too bad for saving—look at Jesus! He died for all, even the worst of us—and the rest of us, too! So, they returned to the tomb at early dawn, which means it probably was still dark when they left their homes. Here are a few questions…how did they intend to get there? Were the gates to the city open? Climbing up to the tomb probably wasn’t very easy and then how were they going to convince the guards to let them into the tomb? Matthew said there was a seal on the tomb (Matt. 27:66). So, at the very least, the government showed it meant business as far as this tomb was concerned. Somewhere I’ve heard or read that love knows no obstacle. Oh, that we who know He is alive forevermore would show this same devotion these days! Luke tells us they got a surprise when they reached the tomb! The stone was rolled away, which was a miracle in itself. Many commentators explain the stone wasn’t a small item such as a rock, blocking the door to the tomb. Rather, it was a huge stone, a boulder. David Guzik says in his commentary that it was a circular stone rolled down a track to ensure nobody would break in and steal the body (or other things, it’s implied) from the tomb. He says it would take several strong men to roll that stone uphill so the tomb could be accessed. I doubt these women were that strong. Again, how were they going to get in? The only thing we know is they prepared spices because they did not believe Jesus was going to rise again. That was the first surprise. Imagine when they see not only the stone rolled away, but they went in and saw two men, according to Luke, in shining clothes! What did the women do? “They bowed their faces to the ground”! Then they heard a perplexing question: “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here.” I imagine that angel paused for emphasis before he continued, as he said, “He has risen!” This wasn’t all the angel said to them, but it was enough for these ladies to remember Jesus’ words. It was and is promised in Isaiah 55 that God’s Word never will return void or empty. When they heard, they remembered. How much or how often they thought of the messages Jesus preached or conversations with Him we may never know, but this moment of truth we read about here surely gave them the encouragement they needed. The angel even gave a specific time and message: “When He was still in Galilee.” They remembered! Even if nobody else could recall the message, they did! The Greek verb here is in the passive voice, which means they didn’t actively think about what the angel said. Rather, the thought came to them! However, they didn’t stay there long and apparently didn’t want to waste any time. This was wonderful news, the knowledge that Jesus was not dead any longer, but alive! Luke then says they returned to the place where they were staying. We know from verse 9 that the 11 disciples were there, and the others, and this is something I’ve never really noticed before. Who were the others? We don’t know who, but we do know they, too, had heard Jesus—and they had believed. Now you would think, I’m sure, that this news about Jesus being alive would be welcome news, right? I mean, Jesus had spent more time with the disciples than anyone else, hadn’t He? Yet, they still didn’t understand! So, when these ladies came back from the tomb, they’re telling the disciples all about what they had seen and heard that morning. The disciples and the others did not believe them at all. Dr. A.T. Robertson in his Word Pictures in the New Testament commented that the words of the women were like the wild talk of someone in delirium or hysteria (paraphrased). Imagine this: These women had left the relative safety of their homes, had walked all the way to the tomb, no doubt in deep sorrow regarding the death of Jesus. Now, they’ve returned, and I don’t think they were unhappy over this news! They’re probably taking turns, or maybe they’re overtalking each other. (Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there?) Still, the disciples were unconvinced! They didn’t believe a word the women were saying! Later they did. Although it isn’t in this particular passage, Luke 24:36, tells us Jesus Himself appeared right there in the very room. He appeared again eight days later, and Thomas gave a true confession of faith, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). He made other appearances, too, as Paul later described in 1 Corinthians 15. One day, He’s coming back, this time to take us home with Him. I hope you are ready to meet Him—the Lord Jesus Christ—when He appears again. As you are watching this live feed and whether you attend this church or some other church there may be some things that aren’t right between you and God and they need to be and today they can be. My hope is that you will find this Jesus on this Easter Sunday! Remember that today…He is risen!!
April 5, 2020 WHAT IS PALM SUNDAY? John 12:12-19 A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, "Why do you have that palm branch, dad?" "You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got palm branches today." The little boy replied, "Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!" We might ask this question - what is Palm Sunday all about anyway and what was Jesus’ agenda in this event? Today, I would like to share with you what I believe is the beginning of what this day is all about: The first thing was to bring ATTENTION to His purpose and not to Himself. In John 17:1-5 Jesus declares what He wants to draw attention to…the glory of the Father and the hope of eternal life. Jesus could have easily drawn the wrong kind of attention…fame, political power, etc. but rather, He chose to draw attention to His true purpose and passion which is: the redemption of mankind. Remember when Jesus asked Zacchaeus to come out of the sycamore tree? Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” He was talking about the redemption of man, salvation for the lost, and hope for those who were dying in their sins! This was His purpose and He was bringing attention to that purpose! He was not here to showcase Himself, but He came at His Father’s bidding to suffer extreme and horrible pain so that we might have redemption through the blood of Christ. His purpose has not changed and in the 21st century the message is still the same that Jesus brought to the children of Israel in the 1st century. The next thing was to bring COMPREHENSION to His purpose: We read in v. 13, that the people unwittingly declared what Jesus’ purpose was in speaking the word, “Hosanna” which means “save”! The people continued to say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord…the King of Israel!” This is speaking of God’s Kingdom, not mans! The people standing down the road throwing coats and palm fronds on the road did not comprehend what they were saying as Jesus rode by! Their thoughts were of a great king who would come in and start a revolution that would free them from their Roman bondage. But Jesus came to free them from the bondage of sin not from the bondage of the Romans. He would become the King of their hearts! It was only afterwards that those who stuck by Jesus and truly paid attention discovered and understood what had happened. In v. 16 it says, “At first the disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.” Many times our comprehension levels are not as they should be. We see and hear what we want to see and hear. In the process it prohibits and distracts from what God is trying to tell us because we think we already know!! We know His purpose and I believe we can comprehend His purpose but where do we go from here? The last thing is to bring DEVOTION to His purpose. In v. 19, “So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!’” We see from the Pharisees point of view that they believe everyone is following Christ. So let’s look at this real close. Now, some followed Him and others became followers. Some followed Jesus because of who they thought He was while others followed Him because of what they knew He was! What am I saying here? It is easy to follow someone and not be committed or devoted to their purpose. But it becomes a commitment when we become true followers and follow because we believe in His purpose. Some of the people thought they were looking at a King that would drive out the Romans but quickly fell away when they realized that was not what Christ was here for. But there were others who knew who He was. They had seen the miracles, they had felt the touch of the Master and knew this was the Messiah, the Son of God. Everything that Jesus did led ultimately to the cross which is more than a passing fad….it is our hope, it is our reality, and it is of eternal value even today! It did not fade away 2,000 years ago and though many have tried it will not fade away today! Now at the cross we are faced with a decision: Are we going to be devoted to Him or simply cheer for Him until something better comes along? When we become devoted to His purpose, we discover our purpose and then God will use us for His Kingdom in ways we never thought possible. My challenge to you is to discover or re-discover His purpose and put it into action!