Message from Jesus – John 20: 1-10

John 20:1-10

[1] The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

[2] Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

[3] Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

[4] So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

[5] And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

[6] Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

[7] And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

[8] Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

[9] For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

[10] Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

We know from the other Gospels that Mary Magdalene (and others), went to the tomb early on Sunday morning. They wanted to do the job of embalming that they had not be able to do on Friday evening because Sabbath came at dawn and lasted until Sunday at sunrise.

The stone was NOT rolled away for Jesus to leave the tomb, but for the women and then the disciples to see the tomb empty. Another reason was probably so the guards at the tomb would see God’s mighty power.

Mary ran back to tell the disciples the tomb was empty. It is important for us to see that Peter was with the other disciples. He went quickly to the tomb with John. Perhaps he went right into the tomb (John had not) because Peter knew he had denied Jesus, and he was willing to face any consequences that may come along.

Verse 8 is area scholars disagree on.

Did John look into the tomb and see the bandages, looking as though Jesus’ body was still wrapped inside them? Some say it wasn’t until John actually went in and saw Jesus’ body was not there that John believed that Jesus was gone, (stolen).

Others say that when John went in and found the body missing, he believed that Jesus had risen.

Until that moment, the men had not understood the scripture was speaking of Jesus, but when they saw Jesus was gone, then they believed. (I agree with this one).

An interesting fact is that at some point, rather quickly, they believed that Jesus had been resurrected. Why? Because the Bible does not say that they went searching for him. They didn’t have to search for him, they KNEW he had risen.

If robbers had come to steal Jesus’ body, they would have been in a hurry. They would have grabbed hold of the cloth and tried to leave quickly before they were spotted. The cloths would actually have helped to move him. They wouldn’t have had time to unwrap him and place the cloths on the stone again with the appearance that Jesus’ body was still there.

Why would the cloth linen and face cloth convince them that Jesus was alive rather than just being stolen?

It was a sign left by Jesus. In resurrection, Jesus didn’t have to disturb the cloths! He left them right where they had been while surrounding his body.

Vs 7 tells us that Jesus took the face cover, rolled it and lay it separately so they would believe.

What would have been the purpose to fold the face cloth and lay it separately from the others? In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day.

The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

Now if the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, “I’m finished.”But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because……….

The folded napkin meant, “I’m coming back.”

Ask for Forgiveness – John 13: 21-30

John 13:21-30

[21] When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

[22] Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

[23] Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

[24] Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.

[25] He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?

[26] Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

[27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

[28] Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.

[29] For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.

[30] He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

Jesus celebrated the Passover meal every year which was held in remembrance of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and this year was no different. Following that day, the Passover is now referred to as the Last Supper (by Christians), in remembrance of Jesus.

Jesus sent two disciples ahead to Jerusalem to get everything ready for the Passover feast. By the time Jesus arrived the room was ready, the meal was prepared and everything was looking like the makings of a good, relaxing dinner to all, except Jesus and perhaps Judas.

The act of sharing food together has always suggested a level of friendship between the people sharing the meal.

In the Jewish culture, at the time of Jesus; a shared meal assumed a close bonding between eaters. Jesus and the disciples included the practice of sharing food from common bowls, showing they are all friends; good friends.

As they were eating, Jesus tells the disciples that one of them will betray Him. John is coaxed by Peter to ask who the betrayer is and so John asks Jesus.

Jesus tells them it is one whom He was to give bread to after he dipped it in the soup (sop). Jesus did just that, but the other disciples didn’t understand what it meant.

Verse 26 tells us that Jesus dipped his bread in the bowl and then offered it to Judas. This would have heightened the act of Judas’ betrayal even more so.

Imagine Judas’ shock that Jesus already knew! At this point, Jesus was literally giving Judas a chance to repent. Jesus loved Judas, in spite of the betrayal. He was telling Judas that he already knew, so come clean with me and I will forgive you. (Exactly as Jesus does for every sinner).

Jesus knows who the betrayer is and Judas knows it is him. The others however do not know and each ask “is it I?” When Judas pretends not to know and tries to hide it, he asks the same question, “is it I?” This is a deep, hard betrayal of Judas towards Jesus when Judas asks “Is it I?”

At this point, God allows Satan to take over Judas and complete his task because Judas’ heart has already hardened.

Let’s for a moment go back to Jesus’ Triumphal Entry in Jerusalem. (See my full post of March 15,2016).

Many people (the disciples included) believed that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for. He was the one, they thought, that would stand up for them and make things right. However when Jesus reached the Temple, at the end of his Triumphal Entry, no one was there and so Jesus turned around and went back to Bethany, with his disciples, after doing nothing.

Perhaps, after that (like others), Judas felt betrayed. Perhaps he was hoping to enjoy a position of great status, when Jesus took over. We know Judas was a lover of money and maybe figured because he had followed Jesus for 3 years, now all of that time would finally pay off.

In truth, we have no idea what Judas was thinking but we do know that at the Passover Feast, Satan entered Judas. (John 13:27) and Judas did betray Jesus.

Many ask why God didn’t stop it? Most likely because Judas’ heart was already dark and so God allowed Satan to use Judas to accomplish what needed to be done.

In Matthew 26:47, we see Judas following through and betraying Jesus with a kiss. Jesus, for a second time, reminds Judas that he knows about the betrayal, but unfortunately Judas still didn’t repent when the opportunity was there. After that, the guilt was too much for him and Judas hanged himself.

Judas didn’t have to die! Forgiveness was available to him.

Isn’t forgiveness exactly what Jesus came to us for? This was a foreshadowing of what the cross can now do for us. Truly repent and be forgiven.

See also:

Matthew 26:20-25

Mark 14:17-21

Luke 22:21-22

Matthew 26:47

God is Our Watchman – Psalm 127

Psalm127:

[1] Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
[2] It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (KJV)

Scholars have different ideas as to who actually wrote this Psalm. Some believe that Solomon wrote it and David included it in his Psalms, others believe that David wrote it and dedicated it to Solomon.

Regardless of the author, this is a Psalm which is full of wisdom, teaching us to rely on God everyday, in all circumstances.

Whether the “house” is our body, a business, a church, a temple, or a project of any kind, without God’s blessing it is fruitless. It doesn’t go anywhere.

It is vain for us to rise up early and sit up late. Those who do not know God and wish to have a good life will work hard. They will get up early, work hard all day and then will stay up late, trying, to make something of themselves.

“To eat the bread of sorrow”… Many are wanting to have a good life on their own. They worry and get nervous and things never seem to go right because they do not have a relationship with The Lord. Their problems wake them up early, or keep them up late and stop them from having a good sleep. With Gods blessings they could have peaceful sleep, knowing that He is in control.

The author is saying that with trust in God, we don’t have to worry. Give it over to the Lord and he will look after it all. He will lead us and guide us if we just put our trust in him.

Everyday we must consciously be dependent on Christ as He is the rock and we must build our foundations on Him.

Heavenly Father

Lord may I always talk to you regardless of the day, situation or experience. May I always ask you for your advice and listen for your leading.

Father I can recount the days and circumstances that occurred because I didn’t ask for your opinion or direction or for your blessings.

I have learned hard and costly lessons through my head strong ways, wanting to go it alone.

I can definitely see a good difference in the times where I involved you in the entire process. May I always turn to you first and seek direction and abide by your answer.

Many times that answer will be “no” to something I really think I should do or have. May I learn from my past mistakes that when you say “no” I should listen even if it’s totally opposite of what I think should happen.

Help me to remember the many sleepless hours of the night, the restless days and the money that I have put into projects on my own accord, without your blessings.

Remind me of those times I knew in my heart that had I asked, you would have said no, so I took it upon myself and charged ahead without your guidance, only to have failed in the end.

Had I talked to you and obeyed, you may have said no or may have said to just wait a bit or possibly you may even have lead me to something better.

Father, please help me to always seek your guidance in everything I do. Even though I am an impulsive human and have a hard time waiting; once I get something into my mind, help me to remember to pray in all situations. Help me to sit quietly and listen to your voice and your leading.

I am truly grateful to be your child.

I am truly grateful that you hear me all the time.

I am truly grateful that as a good parent you sometimes have to say no to my requests.

I am truly grateful that in the times I rush ahead, not bothering to include you, you still keep me under your watchful eye, while allowing me to learn from my own mistakes.

I am truly grateful that you are a firm but loving Father.

Thank you for loving me so much.

I love you too!

In the precious name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus. I pray.

Amen

God Has A Plan For Us – Jeremiah 29:11-13

JEREMIAH 29:

[11] For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

[12] Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

[13] And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (KJV)

The Lord is instructing Jeremiah, what to write as the Prophet was penning a note to his countrymen who were overseas.

Obviously God knows them personally. He says that he thinks of them and his thoughts are of peace and not of evil.

Best of all, The Lord promises they can have an expected end because of their lifestyle and good hearts. There will be a home for them with Him for eternity.

The Father tells them to call upon him and because of the way they pray (with all their hearts) he will listen to them.

When they earnestly search for God they will find him, as long as they continue searching with their hearts.

Heavenly Father,

You know me inside out. You have known all that I have ever said, done, thought and felt, long before I was even born into this world. You know everything about me. There is nothing that I can hide from you.

So I pray Lord that when you think of me, your thoughts are of peace and not of evil, so that I too can have an expected end with you, in Heaven.

Lord, I come before you in prayer. Help me to live my life for you, praying from my heart so that you will listen and hear me. I know that when I truly search for you, I will always find you.

Father may my prayers and actions will always bring you glory!

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen

Hallelujah

Moral Law – Psalm 37: 31

PSALM 37

[31] The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. (KJV)

From the beginning, God has placed the moral law inside all people.  However over time; starting with Adam, this law has been greatly replaced by sin.

By the time David wrote Psalm 37, he was much older and wiser.  He realized that God looks into our hearts and knows what we are truly like and was advising the people that we must live and abide by the moral law.

What is the moral law?  It is submitting to God.  We know instinctively right from wrong, what is good or bad, because God placed that truth within us at birth.  It doesn’t matter who we are, (age, race, country, rich, poor, etc.) somewhere deep inside, there is a knotted feeling that we get, knowing when we are about to do something wrong.  Even when we try to block the feeling, it just sits there, nagging us.

Of course there are those who succeed in ignoring/burying sin quite effectively without worry and happily carry on. It may appear to us that those who take from life whatever they want or those who lie, cheat and steal, often get off scot-free and prosper the most.  They are not the winners in spite of how it appears!

At the end of life, every person will go before The Lord and have all of our sin revealed. Then we will be judged accordingly and the punishment for the wicked is to die a death from which there is no resurrection.  Those who followed the moral law will receive eternal life with Jesus.

Can we always make the right decisions?  No!  We all sin because we are sinners but if we abide by the moral law as best as we can and repent when we don’t, then we can be deemed as righteous at the end of our time on earth, thanks to Jesus Christ.

So… by willfully behaving in the correct manner when The Holy Spirit convicts us, we can follow the narrow path.  By doing this, the Lord keeps our feet, orders our steps and directs us in the way that we should go.

Jehovah – Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness

I know Father, that today is no different than in David’s day.  Your moral law is written inside EVERY person’s heart at birth.  The Holy Spirit convicts us when we are contemplating doing something against that law.

I feel the nudge when I’m about to make a wrong choice but sometimes I override the feeling and do it anyway. This is what David was informing us about. Not to let our feet slide but to listen to the warnings and do the right thing.

In the times that I do fall, I confess my sin, repent and you help me back up. However, it’s important for me to remember that you Father know my real motives and that I can’t hide sin from you.

I am blessed Lord because I now know you better and live a more godly life than I did before my salvation into your family. Thank you for loving me, teaching me and for your grace and mercy. I am truly grateful.

In the name of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen.

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God’s Gift to Us – Romans 8:32

Romans 8:

[32] He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (KJV)

God wants to enjoy a personal relationship with us, however we are kept away from Him because of our sin.

God delivered up his own son; Jesus, who willingly became our sacrificial Lamb, into the hands of wicked men. And then Jesus became our Saviour, the ultimate gift from God.

If it pleased our Father to give us the gift of all gifts, (Jesus) would he stop giving now? If his love for us was so great then, would it be less now?

No, our Father loves us very much and the offering of Jesus was only the first of many gifts that God bestows on us. We are blessed with His grace, mercy, righteousness and many more favours too bountiful to list.

As a loving parent, he enjoys watching over us and making us happy.

ABBA,

Thank you Father that you love us so much that you were willing to give up your only Son as a sacrifice for our salvation.

Jesus was the ultimate gift! We cannot be given anything greater or as meaningful as Jesus’ death, crucifixion and resurrection on the cross.

But Father, your gifts did not stop with Jesus. You love to give us wonderful things.

We have gifts of the Spirit, we have miracles, we have healings, pardoning of sin and many other magnificent things.

We enjoy everyday gifts such as fresh water, homes, food, love, laughter, peace. You have delighted us with new born babies, kittens, rainbows, flowers in bloom, the smell of just cut grass on a beautiful summer’s morning. It would be a never ending list if I tried to thank you Father for all the ways you show your love for us.

Lord, your greatest gift of all, salvation, is still available for everyone today to accept. The gifts of miracles are still available. Everyday gifts of joy and peace are there for the taking. I pray Father that we (your children) accept your gifts as you have offered them, with love.

Thank you Almighty God for operating in my life and for reminding me every day that you are my Creator and that you love me very much.

In return, it only makes sense that with great love, I give my “all” back to you, and even then, in giving my everything… it is not really payment enough. However the Bible assures me, that to you God, my love and friendship is pleasing to you and I am thankful for that. I love you Father.

In the Holy and Precious name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ I pray.

Amen.

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