Friday, April 29, 2011

Jesus: Betrayed, Denied and Abandoned

Jesus was betrayed, denied and abandoned by his closest friends. So where is the love Jesus spoke of? He had just demonstrated to His disciples the difference between life in this world and life in His world. In this world the rulers rule for there own gain, but in Jesus' world, those who desire to be great must be servants of all. Jesus then took on the role of the least of servants and washed His disciples feet  (John 13). He told His disciples that He was going to leave this world and that they were not able to follow Him. He referred to them as little children because just like little children they got excited for the moment, while He was with them in the world. Peter even said He was willing to die for Jesus. Mark says all the disciples said that they were ready to die with Jesus (Mark 14:31). But none of them were. Judas betrayed Jesus, Peter denied Jesus, the other disciples abandoned Jesus.

So where is the love? The love that Jesus referred to is agapao love or God love. Agapao love can only be expressed by God. That is what Divine Life is all about (thank you Dr. Steve McVey). Agapao is expressed by God living in human beings. The fullness of God is in Christ and Christ lives in the lives of those who trust and believe in Him (Col. 1:19,27).

It's a love that transcends this world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Resurrection, did it Really Happen?

Are you among those who don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead?  The apostle Paul said, If there is no resurrection, then Christ is not risen and if Christ is not risen, then our preaching and faith are in vain (useless or futile) and you are still in your sins (1 Cor. 15:13-14, 16-17).

The scriptures show plainly that Christ was raised from the dead. Matthew states that Jesus first of all appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Mat. 28:1-10). Mark states that Mary Magdalene was the one out of whom Jesus cast seven demons and that after Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to her first. Then He appeared to two others and finally the remaining eleven disciples (Mark 15:47-16:14).

Luke states that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women encountered two angels, who told them that Jesus had risen from the dead (Luke 24:1-10). The women then went to the eleven disciples, and others with them, and told them that Jesus was alive. But the disciples did not believe the women (Luke 24:9-11). Jesus met up with two believers, Cleopas and another who did not understand the resurrection (Luke 24:18). He rebuked them because of their unbelief (Luke 24:25-26). Jesus appeared to the eleven and other disciples, showing them that while He was glorified, He still had flesh and bone (Luke 24:36-40). He then ate fish and honeycomb in their sight (Luke 24:41-43).

John sates that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared first to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-17) and then to His disciples (John 20:19-20). Thomas was not with the others when Jesus appeared and would not believe their testimony. He wanted to examine the physical evidence, so Jesus appeared to him with the other disciples present. Jesus told Thomas to put his fingers into the holes in His hands and  his hands into Jesus’ side. After Thomas examined and felt the wounds of Jesus, he said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Thank God for Thomas, who like a good lawyer, had to physically examine the evidence before he came to a logical conclusion (John 20:24-29). His testimony is more persuasive than his contemporaries. Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29). John goes on to say that “these things are written (the witnesses' testimonies) that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31).

Paul states that Jesus appeared to Peter and the disciples. Then to five hundred believers at one time. Then He was seen by James and all the apostles and finally by Paul (1 Cor. 15:5-8). Chuck Swindoll, Insight for Living, said that the five hundred witnesses were not delusional. Greg Albrecht of Plain Truth Radio, stated that Jesus' disciples were transformed from cowards to (valiant, my added description) martyrs. He said that no one would give their lives for a myth.

Without the resurrection Christ is not risen and if Christ is not risen then our preaching and faith are in vain (1 Cor. 15:13-14). But Christ is risen from the dead. That is what Easter pictures and what we have just seen from the testimonies of many witnesses.  

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Having a Love Affair.

Peter was adamant. He was so sure he was ready to die with Jesus. Yet he, as foretold by Jesus, denied Christ three times (Luke 22:33-34, 54-62).

Peter made the mistake that many of us make today. He thought he was able to love,  fulfill the requirements of the law, on his own strength. Jesus knows that no human being is able to fulfill the requirements of the law of love on their own strength. That is why He came and died and rose from the dead; that He might live His life of love within each and every one of us.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Three times Peter said he loved Jesus  (John 21:15-17). Our relationship with Jesus can be a academic experience, a religious exercise or a "love affair." Jesus wants the love affair. As a human being, Jesus is united with all of humanity. But He wants a deeper more intimate relationship with you and me. He really wants us to tell Him how much we love Him and desire Him to live within us. Invite Him today to live within you. Tell Him that you love Him more than anything or anyone. He is waiting to hear from you.