Easter!

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Although pristine and shiny, this elegant cross represents the bloody, cracked and dirty cross on which Jesus Christ willingly gave up His life for all humanity.

On April 1, 2018, many Americans will be aware of Easter Sunday which, for the most part, has become a family church day followed by a wonderful meal and an Easter egg hunt. But what about the cross in this photo? Where does that come in? Simply put, the cross came first, way before any family celebrations. The cross is a symbol of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to wash away the sins of humanity…all people, all over the world. Jesus died so we could live forever in a sinless, perfect world God has already created for us. Faith in Christ opens the door to total forgiveness and a magnificent life forever with no tears or pain. Not even any bad thoughts!

I tell you this because I want to remind Christians and to offer a life of forgiveness to unbelievers through faith in Christ. Jesus did the hard work, the impossible, painful, dreadful work for us. To reap the rewards of his amazing gesture of love, we must accept his sacrifice just like you accept any gift. Faith in Christ will change your life…forever! That is what Easter is all about…the resurrection of Jesus!

After Easter

After Easter

Do you believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? Does the question sort of haunt you, make you curious or seem impossible? Then take time to read this booklet, “After Easter: How Christ’s Resurrection Changed Everything”

Small in size, this booklet, which includes the entire Gospel of John from the New Testament, packs a powerful punch with easy to follow narrative coupled with Bible verses to facilitate the reader’s understanding while answering most questions regarding the resurrection of Christ. Did Jesus walk out of his tomb after being dead three days? Reading “After Easter” will answer that question without long paragraphs filled with theological wanderings. The writers seem determined to briefly and clearly tell the tale of His death and resurrection which amount to three days that changed the course of history.

Not only did Jesus walk away from his grave clothes but in so doing, he opened the door for the forgiveness of the sins of the world and a pathway into eternal life. As the writers take us step by step from his birth to the eternally planned death, burial and resurrection, we see the building blocks of God’s magnificent and costly plan of salvation, offered to all of mankind. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we may enter an eternal destination which leads to perfection with God.

Read this book to answer resurrection-related questions that may have you curious, concerned or perplexed. And keep in mind the Gospel of John is included as a bonus.

The Road to Emmaus

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CARVAGGIO: SUPPER AT EMMAUS (1601)


Luke 24:19-32  ~New Living Translation (NLT)


“What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.

“Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”

Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

The Resurrection

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“I was dead, but look, I am alive forever and ever.” Rev 1:18

Without doubt, the most important event on the calendar for followers of Christ, His church, is what we call Easter. This is the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the moment in history when our Savior had the final say over death and hades. He had completed the most agonizing part of his triumphant purpose by willingly giving his life to pain and death, crumpled on Calvary’s cross. But that was only the beginning, not the end.

After three days in the tomb, Jesus rose, shed His death clothes and gave his final instructions to His disciples. And because of that, we too have the promise of eternal life just as He gave to the thief on the cross beside him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point of our hope as found in the following Scriptures:

Acts 1:1-3 ~Dear Theophilus: In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men he had chosen as his apostles. 3 For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God.

Acts 2:24, 32: ~God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it…God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.

Matthew 28:1-10 ~Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee) went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

Luke 24:46-48 ~He also said to them: “This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

1 Cor 15:1-8 ~Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. 3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.

Acts 4:33 ~And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…

Acts 26:22-23 ~But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.

Romans 1:2-4 ~The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as written in the Holy Scriptures. 3 It is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: as to his humanity, he was born a descendant of David; 4 as to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death.

1 Cor 15:12-23 ~But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.

There are many scriptures which relate the risen Lord being seen as a living testimony of His resurrection. His absolute victory over death and its decay gives all the believers in Jesus Christ an unwavering hope of everlasting life wit h Him. Although we shall die, unless Jesus returns with the trumpet blast and angelic shout first, we shall not perish but taste life that never ends, residing in the New Jerusalem with Almighty God and His resurrected Son.

Death & Resurrection

 

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Death and Resurrection

April 5, 2015

“Father! In your hands I place my spirit!” He said this and died. Luke 23:46

He knew before it happened. He and His Father were the only ones who did know. The knowledge brought great agony for Jesus, the perfect man, the Lamb led to slaughter. In the garden before he was arrested, he agonized over his obedience to the horrible, tortuous truth about to unfold. But even more unthinkable to Jesus was his brief separation from The Father…that terrible moment when He would become sin for the whole world. Was there any other way to accomplish what had to be done?

Then He went off from them about the distance of a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed. “Father,” He said, “if you will, take this cup of suffering away from me (there must have been a long pause as the man Jesus waited for a reply different from what He knew to be God’s will). Not my will however, but your will be done.” (And then, in a remarkable example of God’s mercy) An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened him. In great anguish He prayed even more fervently; His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”  (Luke 22:41-44) parentheses added

And then, in a tumultuous swirl, he was arrested, questioned, horribly beaten, convicted, condemned to death, mocked, hated, spat upon, forced to drag his own cross up crude roads, experienced excruciating pain of nails driven through his hands and feet, abruptly attached to the cross as the taunting continued…and then, beyond human understanding…forgave the very people who did this to Him as life was passing from his body. 

Suddenly God blackened the unrelenting brightness of the mid-day sun for three hours! At the same time, the huge curtain hanging in the temple was torn in two! Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father in your hands I place my spirit.” He said this and died. (Luke 22:44-46)

A man named Joseph from Arimathea, who was waiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God, arranged to have the body of Jesus removed from the cross, wrapped in linen and placed in a tomb which had been dug out of solid rock and never been used. It was Friday and the Sabbath was about to begin.

Very early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James arrived at the tomb of Jesus to apply the spices and perfumes to his body. They found the stone rolled away and did not find the body of Jesus in the tomb. Suddenly, two men in bright shining robes appeared and the women bowed down to the ground.

“Why are you looking among the dead for One who is alive? He is not here; He has been raised. Remember what He said to you while He was in Galilee: The Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and three days later rise to life.”

Then the women remembered His words, returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven disciples and all the rest. (Luke 24:1-9)

The impossible happened, Jesus was dead and now alive. Just as the Bible predicted, He was resurrected from the dead. His sacrificial death, the blood of the Lamb of God, provides eternal life, forgiveness of sins to all who believe. 

Perhaps you are more hesitant to believe such a story, perhaps you are like the apostle Thomas who proclaimed, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

A week later, Jesus appeared to Thomas and said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting and believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27-28)

Now what? What is Jesus doing now, after His majestic resurrection? The answer is found in Hebrews 1:1-3 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things,through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Who then will condemn us? Will Christ? No! For he is the one who died for us and came back to life again for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us there in heaven. (Romans 8:34-35)

Christians Take Flight

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“Therefore I will protect you from the time of Great Tribulation” ~Rev 3:10

 

“Do you know the next great event on God’s prophetic calendar?” Chris asked his friend, Evan.

“The tribulation?”

“Actually this event occurs just before the tribulation.”

“I guess I’m not sure. I often get the end times stuff mixed up.”

“The next big prophetic event is…The Rapture!”

“To tell you the truth, I am a little foggy on how that is supposed to work, Chris. Can you fill me in? Oh, and should I worry about being left behind?”

“I can give you the ultimate test to see if you will be included in the rapture (if it happens before you die). Answer this question for me and we will know for sure:the Bible says, in Romans 10:13, “For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Evan, have you called upon the name of the Lord to save you?”

“Yes. I have. I most certainly have.”

“Then you will not be left behind; plain and simple.”

“Praise God. That is a relief. So, go ahead, tell me about the Rapture.”

“Let me quote Mark Hitchcock’s book, 101 Answers To The Most Asked Questions About The End Times

The Rapture is that future event when Jesus Christ will descend from heaven and, in a moment of time, resurrect the bodies of departed believers, transform the bodies of living believers immediately into His glorious presence, and then escort them to heaven to live with Him forever. The Rapture is the blessed hope of the church.”

“When is this supposed to happen?”

“That is the question for all the ages, Evan. Only God knows the date and time. So we are to look with expectancy…anticipating that any moment we might hear the mighty shout and trumpet blast calling us home.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-2

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

When is all this going to happen? I really don’t need to say anything about that, dear brothers, for you know perfectly well that no one knows. That day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night.

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 I tell you this, my brothers: an earthly body made of flesh and blood cannot get into God’s Kingdom. These perishable bodies of ours are not the right kind to live forever.

But I am telling you this strange and wonderful secret: we shall not all die, but we shall all be given new bodies! It will all happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For there will be a trumpet blast from the sky, and all the Christians who have died will suddenly become alive, with new bodies that will never, never die; and then we who are still alive shall suddenly have new bodies too. For our earthly bodies, the ones we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever.

When this happens, then at last this Scripture will come true—“Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where then your victory? Where then your sting? For sin—the sting that causes death—will all be gone; and the law, which reveals our sins, will no longer be our judge. How we thank God for all of this! It is he who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection.

“Life in these mortal bodies often brings conflict, sadness, sorrow, uncertainty and discouragement, Evan, which is why verse 18 in 1 Thessalonians, above, is so crucial: So comfort and encourage each other with these words! When a friend, a fellow believer, is at rock-bottom, encourage them with these words! We cannot hear them too often and need the powerful, life-changing assurance God’s word brings to our souls. Therefore, comfort and encourage each other with these words!”

He Has Risen—Just As He Said!

 

 

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“I was dead, but look, I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys to death and Hades.” Rev 1:18

Without doubt, the most important event on the calendar for followers of Christ, His Church, is what we call Easter. This is the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the moment in history when our Savior had the final say over death and hades. He had completed the most agonizing part of his triumphant purpose by willingly giving his life to pain and death, crumpled on Calvary’s cross. But that was only the beginning, not the end.

After three days in the tomb, Jesus rose, shed His death clothes and gave His final instructions to His disciples. And because of that, we too have the promise of eternal life just as He gave to the thief on the cross beside him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point of our hope as found in the following Scriptures:

Rom 4:24 God will count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.

Acts 2:24, 32: God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.

Matthew 28:1-10 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee) went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

Luke 24:46-48 He also said to them: “This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

1 Cor 15:1-8 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. 3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.

Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…

Eph 1:19-20 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Col 2:12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

Romans 10:9-10 If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

1 Peter 1:21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory.

There are many scriptures which relate the risen Lord being seen as a living testimony of His resurrection. His absolute victory over death and its decay gives all the believers in Jesus Christ an unwavering hope of everlasting life with Him. Although we shall die, unless Jesus returns with the trumpet blast and angelic shout first, we shall not perish but taste life that never ends, residing in the New Jerusalem with Almighty God and the resurrected Son.