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

New Year Thoughts

After Christmas, I began thinking about the Family Traditions my family used year after year when I was growing up. I tried to keep as many as I could with my children and of course my husband’s traditions also came into the mix.

Now that our children are older and we have grandchildren, I find that many of the traditions that I grew up with have been watered down as more and more new members join our family and bring their traditions with them.

Am I complaining? Nope, just reminiscing about things of the past; like sitting around the ping pong table in the basement, enjoying the Christmas dinner because that was the only spot that would hold all the people in our small house; such fun, such merriment, such good memories.

Times change, traditions change, people change. I began wondering if traditions even matter in this ever changing world.

I decided to write a list of why they DO matter and this is what I realized….

  • Traditions bring families together
  • Give a sense of comfort and familiarity
  • Provides lasting memories
  • Creates a positive family culture
  • They are held with a specific purpose
  • They provide a source of identity
  • Traditions serve as a reminder of events that shaped us
  • It’s good to know that we belong to something bigger
  • We are strengthened by a family (or perhaps friends) bond
  • Traditions offer comfort and strength in a changing world
  • They teach us value
  • They bequeath love

As I reread my list, my heart lifted because I realized two things.

The first was that my children and grandchildren (and generations to come) are instilled with wonderful childhood memories that are not watered down, but full-fledged memories for them.

The second thing I realized, is that those who are in the family of Christ receive the same benefits listed above, all year long.

Every person is welcomed into the family of God, with His traditions. Everyone is entitled to receive the blessing of God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit – the best family of all!

My wish for every person this New Year, is to have: a wonderful year filled with love, laughter, joy, perfect health, fulfilling and loving relationships, financial stability (at a job you really enjoy) and a year of making the best memories ever.

Much love to you all and the happiest New Year everyone!

Heavenly Father

My prayer is that every person is touched by the hand of God this year and receives your blessing.

As we begin and move into the New Year, help us to keep you first and foremost in our minds and let 2018 be a year where you are loved and glorified in many, many ways.

1 John 3:23 tells us “And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us command.” May that be so Lord.

I bless your Holy name Father.

In Jesus Christ I pray

Amen

May God’s Blessing rest upon you.

Numbers 6:24-26 King James Version (KJV)

[24] The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

[25] The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

[26] The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

If you have a desire to know more about Jesus and His family click here.

The 12 Days of Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Have you ever thought about the Christmas song entitled – The Twelve Days Of Christmas? We all hear it and sing it throughout the Christmas season, but do we even understand what we are singing about, other than a bird in a tree, and people dancing and drumming, etc.

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a traditional Christmas song that represents a lyric for each night starting on December 26 and ending on January 6 or the Twelfth Night.

The date of the song’s first performance is not known, though it is said to have been used in European and Scandinavia traditions as early as the 16th century.

The dictionary describes an allegory as a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. “The 12 Days of Christmas” is most often referred to as an religious allegory.

Some believe that each of the items in the song represents something significant to the teachings of the Catholic faith and the hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help Catholic children learn about their faith.

Some believe it was just a song to help memorize certain religious facts and others believe it was just a song sung for the fun of trying to memorize the lyrics.

Regardless of where or why it came into being, it is a song that really does teach us the facts of Jesus and the Bible… and it’s fun to sing!

The Partridge in a Pear Tree is:

Jesus Christ on the cross

The Two Turtle Doves are:

The Old Testament and New Testament

The Three French Hens are:

The Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit)

or some say: Love, Hope & Faith.

The Four Calling Birds are:

The Four Gospels/Gospel Writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)

The five golden rings represents:

The first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy)

The Six Geese a-laying are:

The 6 Days of Creation – Genesis 1 (1. God created the heavens and the earth; 2.God created the sky and seas; 3. God created the land and plants; 4. God created the sun, moon, and stars; 5. God created fish and birds; 6. God created land animals and man)

The Seven Swans a-swimming are:

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah 11:1-2 (1.Wisdom; 2.Understanding; 3.Counsel; 4.Fortitude (might); 5.Knowledge; 6.Piety (reverent/religious); 7.Fear of the Lord)

The Eight Maids a milking are:

The 8 Beatitudes – from Matthew 5:3-10 (1.Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 2.Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 3.Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 4.Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 5.Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 6.Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 7.Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 8.Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.)

or

The Eight People Saved on the Ark (Noah, and his family): Noah, Wife of Noah, His son Shem, His son Ham, His son Japheth, Wife of Shem, Wife of Ham, Wife of Japheth

The Nine Ladies Dancing are:

The 9 Fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control)

The Ten Lords a-leaping are:

The Ten Commandments (1. Thou shall have no other gods before me; 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image; 3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; 4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy; 5. Honour thy father and mother; 6. Thou shalt not kill; 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery; 8. Thou shalt not steal; 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; 10. Thou shalt not covet)

The Eleven Pipers Piping are:

The 11 Faithful Disciples: Simon (whom He named Peter); Andrew; James; John; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew; Thomas; James son of Alphaeus; Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas son of James.

Side note: Judas Iscariot- is not counted as he was not faithful to Jesus. Judas was later replaced with faithful Matthias

The Twelve Drummers Drumming are:

The twelve Points of the Apostles’ Creed (1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.; 2 . I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.; 3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.; 4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.; 5. He descended into the dead. On the third day he rose again.; 6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.; 7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.; 8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,; 9. The holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,; 10. The forgiveness of sins,; 11. The resurrection of the body,; 12. And the life everlasting.)

Father God

This is a song of remembrance. It speaks of: Jesus, the Bible, the Trinity, the men who penned the bible for us, the story of creation, 7 gifts from the Holy Spirit, the beatitudes, the gift of rebirth (through Noah), the 9 fruits of the Spirit, the law to live by, the disciples who we’re faithful to Jesus and their teachings.

In a world where worry, not peace, reigns, we need to remember all of these things so that being solid in our faith, can be a light to others and draw us all closer to you.

With the fruit of the Spirit (love, peace, joy and faithfulness etc.) we can be at rest in you no matter the situation.

We must remember to keep your true names in our hearts and on our lips – Almighty God, Precious Saviour, The Prince Of Peace. In remembrance of your work and your true nature, your names will remind us exactly who you are – the Great I AM!

I believe you will come again! What a beautiful promise! One day soon, Jesus WILL come again, not as a timid Lamb but as a roaring Lion. Every knee will bow down to the King of Kings and there will be total peace on earth.

My prayer for today Father, is that every person will feel the warmth of your love, turn to find Jesus standing with open arms, welcoming them into the family of God and that they will accept without hesitation, and will have life eternal.

In the precious and beautiful name of Jesus Christ, I pray

Amen

Interested in how to become a child of God? Click here.

Were the Wise Men at Jesus’s birth? – Matthew 2: 1-16

Today I will pick up from last year’s posts entitled “An Invitation To A Very Special Birth” and “The Wise Men Visit Christ

Were the wise men present at Jesus’ birth? The following explains the reasons why I believe the wise men were not present at the manager; in Bethlehem, on the night of Christ’s birth.

REASON #1 – Magi travelled long distance

Matthew 2:[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem

Did the wise men leave the moment they saw the star or did they wait a bit; watching for a while, to make sure it was really the prophesied star?

Whether they pondered on it or not, they had to prepare for the long journey and following that they had the travel time from their country to Bethlehem.

The wise men couldn’t have travelled from a distant country in the East to Jerusalem all in one night or even in a number of nights. How do we know they were from a different country?

Matthew 2 :[12] says – “and being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed to their OWN COUNTRY another way”.

As for the shepherds… Luke 2:[8] “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”

The Shepherds were right there in Bethlehem and able to get to the manager right away.

REASON # 2 – Audience With King Herod.

When the Magi finally arrived in Israel, the Bethlehem star disappeared. They needed directions before they could find Jesus. They stopped to ask directions from King Herod

With this delay, even if they had arrived in Israel on the day of Jesus’ birth, they wouldn’t have been present when the shepherds were there.

As we will see, King Herod keeps them for a time.

REASON # 3 – The wise men ask about the new king but King Herod (in the dark about these matters)

Matthew 2:[2] “Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

Herod obviously had no prior knowledge of the prophecy telling of the “King of the Jews” born in his kingdom.

Herod was at a great disadvantage and most likely very embarrassed with the situation. He had to delay the Magi while he searched for answers from his chief priests and scribes.

REASON #4 – How long were the Magi kept with Herod while he searched for answers?

Matthew 2:[3] – When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

The scripture tells us that ALL were troubled in Jerusalem about what King Herod would do.

Therefore the wise men must have been in Herod’s presence at least long enough for the news to spread throughout Jerusalem.

Matthew 2:[4-5] And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

The Priests and Scribes found the scripture which prophesied the coming of the King of the Jews.

Micah 5:. [2] But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. [3] Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. [4] And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. [5] And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.

(Part of scripture has been quoted here in Matthew 2:6)

Matthew 2:[6] “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”

REASON #5 – King Herod needed more information from the wise men.

After receiving information from his chief priests and scribes, he turns back to the Magi to fill in the gaps.

Matthew 2:[7] “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.”

King Herod asks with a persistently constant effort (diligently) to know when the “Bethlehem” star first appeared to them, which would actually reveal the child’s age. He now gets exact information from the Magi of when they first saw the star and where the child was living.

Reason # 6 – Baby Verses Young Child.

Matthew 2:[8] And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

This information was not so he could bless the child, as he tells the wise men, but to kill the child.

From the scripture of Micah 5:2 and of the wise men, Herod now knows the approximate date of Christ’s birth and the area of his birth (Bethlehem)

Herod sends the Magi to find the “young child” (not the baby) in Bethlehem.

Reason #7 – The Star Reappears, Leading The Wise Men To Jesus

Matthew 2:[9] “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.”

Side note: Many people ask how the wise men followed the star in the “east” as they lived in the east and travelled west. In those days, Greece literally named the neighbouring land east of Greece, “East”. So they were not travelling in the direction “east” but to the place called “east”.

Matthew 2:[10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Once outside the star now reappears. As Herod was not able to give them much help as to where the child was, they were overjoyed that the star reappears and they are able to follow it and find Jesus.

REASON #8 – Jesus In A House As A Young Child

Matthew 2:11 “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”
This scripture tells us the star lead the Magi to a house not a manger.
The wise men went into the house and saw the young child. Jesus is not referred to as a babe. They bowed down to the young child.
The Magi saw Jesus and Mary but Joseph is not mentioned.
Whereas at Jesus’ birth:
Luke 2:12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manager.
Luke 2:16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph and the babe lying in a manager.
The shepherds saw the baby in the manager, wrapped in baby blankets. They visited Jesus, Joseph and Mary.

REASON #9 – Mary’s purification and Jesus’ presentation to the Lord

Leviticus 12:6. 6 “And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:”
Luke 2:24. “And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.”
Leviticus tells us a mother shall bring a lamb for a burnt offering AND a young pigeon or a turtle dove. Mary did not offer a Lamb – does that mean they were too poor? If the Magi had already visited Jesus, they would have had much more to offer as a sacrifice.

REASON #10 – Jesus assumed to be about 2 years old.

Matthew 2:13 “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”
Matthew 2:14 “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:”
Matthew 2:15 “And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”
Matthew 2:16 “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.”
God needed to protect Jesus, so he told Joseph to take the young child and flee, which they did.
Herod realized that the Wise Men were gone and hadn’t returned to tell him where the child was.
Sadly all of the boys 2 years and younger were killed by Herod’s order.
So my reasoning is that the wise men travelled from a long way, then stayed with Herod for a time. The baby was now a child found in a house not a manger.
Also when Mary went for her purification and Jesus’ presentation to God, she didn’t offer a lamb, so obviously the wise men had not been to worship Jesus at that point. Herod had all boy children 2 years and under killed hoping that one of them was the future king.

Father God in Heaven,

I am so happy to know that you and you alone are in control of all things.

When we break down scripture and examine it carefully, the whole story unfolds before us.

Over the years our perception of what happened the night of Christ’s birth may have been influenced a bit, by songs and nativity displays and the like.

What really matters? We see that you sent the lowly and the rich to be witnesses to the life of Jesus Christ.

And then you recorded it all in scripture that has survived centuries so that we can read, learn and believe in your Son, Jesus Christ.

These aren’t just people in a made-up story, but real people of flesh and blood, who had to endure many things to overcome the enemy of this world.

Thank you Lord for sending a part of yourself to earth so that we have the supreme opportunity of knowing you and your love, through the body of a man born of a virgin on this earth.

The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus completed His task on this earth and that through the name of a Jesus, we can find salvation and one day meet Him face-to-face.

Thank you Almighty God.

In the precious name of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray

Amen

The King of the Jews – Luke 23: 27-43

Luke 23:

[27] And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

[28] But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

[29] For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

[30] Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

[31] For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

[32] There were also two criminals led out with Jesus to be killed.

[33] They were led to a place called “The Skull.” There the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. They also nailed the criminals to crosses beside Jesus—one on the right and the other on the left.

[34] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”

[35] And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

[36] And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

[37] And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

[38] And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.

[39] And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

[40] But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

[41] And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

[42] And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

[43] And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. (KJV)

It’s important for us to remember that Jesus went willingly to the cross to accomplish the will of God. Jesus was NOT a victim. See John 10:18.

The Gospel of Luke tells us that as Jesus was being led through the streets; on the way to Calvary, there were Jewish women crying and mourning for Him. Even in his pain, Jesus must have felt it was necessary to speak to them. He tells them not to weep for Him but for themselves and their children (descendants).

He explained that He is guilty of nothing and being treated as if He were guilty. Whereas those sending Him to the cross are guilty (of taking His life and not accepting Him as their Messiah), but they are acting as they are innocent.

Jesus tells them that those who do not have children are the lucky ones because there is a time coming when their descendants will be found guilty of the sins of their past generations.

Later when Jesus was hanging on the cross, the people stood mocking him, reminding Him how he had saved others but couldn’t save himself.

What they didn’t understand was that He could have easily come down from the cross at any time, but His mission was to die and be resurrected in order to save the world.

Even in the excruciating pain, (multiplied by OUR sins and sickness that he took to the cross with him) He still was able to ask forgiveness for those who were persecuting Him. “Father, forgive them…”

At the same time, there were two criminals, one either side of him, also being crucified. One started blaspheming (the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God).

The second criminal, having watched everything that had taken place, rebuked the first criminal and defended Jesus, even recognizing him as God.

He even admitted that he and the first criminal we’re getting what they deserved, but that Jesus didn’t deserve it at all, as he was innocent.

Then he asked Jesus to remember him; when Jesus went into His kingdom, proving that he believed that Jesus was the son of God.

Jesus assures the second man (no longer a criminal) that he will be in paradise that day. This man, formally a criminal, truly repented and was saved by Jesus’ love and forgiveness.

This is the only “deathbed” salvation mentioned in the Bible  which shows that it is never too late and that we can never hold too much sin. Jesus will always accept and forgive a truly repenting heart.

This one example shows that God wants each one of us to be in heaven for eternity, so much so that He will even hear and accept a last minute confession.

Because no one knows how or when death will arrive it’s important to be prepared now. Many try waiting it out and many are lost in the waiting.

Can anyone be guaranteed that they will have enough time or even be conscious enough to make that decision for salvation?

The best time is right now. Accept God’s free gift of salvation. You will not regret it!

Interesting facts!

Point Number one – shows Him as a Prophet

Point Number two – shows Him as a Priest

Points Number three and four – shows Him as His true self: A KING!

1). Jesus WARNS the Jewish women that in the future the Jews will be found guilty of rejecting Jesus.

2). Jesus ASKS GOD (the Father) to forgive the people who are killing Him. This showed that He is living the way He commanded His people to live. (Matthew 5:44).

3). Jesus HEARS a repenting confession. We see the criminal saying: Do you not even fear God? We are guilty, Jesus is innocent. Then he spoke to Jesus directly calling Him Lord and asking for Jesus to remember him. This shows that the repenting criminal believed that Jesus was the Messiah and could give him forgiveness and everlasting life.

4). Jesus FORGIVES the criminal who asks. Jesus promises this man (no a longer criminal) that he will be in Heaven with Jesus.

These acts of love show us that even in extraordinary horrendous pain, Jesus took the time with people.

Almighty God, the Father of love and justice,

Thank you for the gift of salvation. You make it so easy: confess, love, believe, have faith, accept and be freed.

We can’t work for our salvation, we can’t buy our salvation, it is a free gift from you God; one that Jesus has already paid dearly for us, on the cross.

Father, I pray that you would touch the heart of every unbelieving person right now. I pray that their eyes would be opened to you and their soul would feel the heaviness and guilt of their sins.

I pray Lord that they would call on You right now, confess that they have sin and ask for forgiveness and salvation. I pray they would agree to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.

Thank you Father that you will hear the prayers of the wicked and immediately, they will be cleansed from the inside out and have their names written in the Lambs Book of Life! Hallelujah.

In the name of Jesus, my Lord, I pray.

Amen

Glory to God

Merry Christmas, today and for evermore, may everyone be opened and filled with the love and spirit of Jesus.

Today we can remember Jesus in many ways:

  1. As the meek and gentle lamb; the baby King (foretold by the prophets and the angel), and as the boy, who was placed inside Mary’s womb by the Spirit of God.
  2. When Mary arrived at her cousin’s house, the baby John (still inside the womb of his mother, Elisabeth), recognized the presence of the Son of God, (Jesus) and John (the Baptist) jumped with joy.
  3. As the young boy who spent his time at the Temple, sitting among learned men, talking of his Father (in heaven)
  4. As the young man, who began God’s mission to save the world from sin.
  5. As the man who called 12 disciples to him and taught them how they were to go out into all the corners of the world and spread the good news of salvation.
  6. Jesus, the Son of Man, who helped others, loved them, blessed them and healed people in miraculous ways, only to be despised, hated and horrifically attacked by these same people he loved so much.
  7. Jesus, the Son of God who was crucified, willingly shedding his blood to cover all of our sins.
  8. Jesus (God, a part of the Trinity) who now sits in Heaven waiting until it’s time for him to return to earth, (not as a meek lamb) but as a roaring lion – the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords.

Let us remember, that Jesus’ existence did not start on the day he was born here on earth, but that He is and has always been a part of God (Trinity) and will continue to be, forever more.

All for the glory of God.

May God bless you and your loved ones.

Merry Christmas.

The Wise Men Visit Christ – Matthew 2: 1-12

Matthew 2: 1-12

[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
[2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
[3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
[4] And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
[5] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
[6] And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
[7] Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
[8] And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
[9] When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
[10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
[11] And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
[12] And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. (KJV)

THE MAGI (THE WISE MEN) Visit Christ

First a bit of background. Magi were skilled in astronomy and astrology. Many were also involved in occult practices and were especially known to interpret dreams. Because of their knowledge in mathematics, history and the occult, they were often called “wise men”.

Daniel 1: 4, 6, 19, 20 tells us that the Magi of Persia were considered more knowledgeable in religion, medical and intellectual areas than the wise men of Babylon. He tells us that the Magi who visited Jesus were not from the group of Babylon, but from the east and were true God-loving men. Nebuchadnezzar finds that Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego) from the group of East Wisemen were “ten times better” than all the wise men in his service.

Very little else is known of the Magi who visited Jesus. The Bible, does NOT tell us the number, their names, how they travelled or where they travelled from, other than the east.

Over the years, false information has been added so often by songs, pictures, stories, etc. that many people now take this information as being factual.

We have the song of “We Three Kings” that say they are kings. The Magi were not kings, however they probably had good standing in the courts.

Song continues … from the Orient afar.

The Orient is not mentioned. Yes, the Bible tells us from the east but not a specific area. Also the Orient is far east of Bethlehem and the Bible does not say from the far east, just the east.

Some Church’s believe the three Magi’s names to be: Melchior (Persia), Caspar (India) and Balthasar (Arabia) as being those who visited Christ. The Bible does not make a suggestion of any kind regarding the names of the Magi.

Many believe there were only three wise men because the Bible only mentions three gifts offered to Christ. We jump to a conclusion, assuming that each offered one gift, hence three Magi.

There may have been other gifts presented but those particular gifts held special meanings for royalty and so were included in scripture.

Gold – Royalty (Precious metal)

Frankincense – Priesthood (Perfume or incense)

Myrrh – Death – (Anointing oil)

These were the standard gifts offered to honour a King.

The nativity. It is viewed depicting three wise men (with their gifts) at the birth of Christ, standing along side Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. This gives us the impression that the Magi were present at Jesus’ birth, when most likely they were not. Perhaps the nativity scene was originally set up in a way that could simultaneously encompass all of the special visitors.

Scripture tells us that the Magi saw the Star when Jesus was born. By the time they were ready to leave their own country and because of the distance to travel to Jerusalem, it was possibly months or perhaps closer to one year or two, before they arrived in Jerusalem.

Upon their arrival, they were allowed to have an audience with Herod, the king. We are told that the Magi asked Herod where they could find the “King of the Jews”. They must have been surprised that Herod didn’t know anything about this King’s birth, especially since the birth happened in Herod’s own kingdom.

Herod, asked his own scribes, chief priests and wise men about the King and was told that the birth of Jesus was recorded in the Old Testament, by the prophet Micah.

(Micah 5:2) “but thou Bethlehem Ephratah, through thou be little amount thousands of Judah, yet out of there shall come forth unto me, that is to be a ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from old, from everlasting. (KJV)

Then Herod asked the Magi exactly when the star had appeared in the East to them. This gave him a good estimation of Jesus’ birth.

Herod then sent the Magi to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.”

When the wise men headed towards Bethlehem, they rejoiced as the star re-appeared and continued to lead them. It stopped above the house where Jesus was with Mary.

The Magi went into the house and as soon as they saw Christ, they fell down and worshipped Him and then presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When they were ready to leave, God told the Magi, in a dream, not to go back to Herod but to go home a different route. They obeyed God! This shows us that the Magi had full obedience to God over obeying a king’s command.

Most likely, on the day the Magi began their journey home or perhaps within a few days, Joseph had a dream. God told Joseph, to take his family and flee at once to Egypt and stay there until God calls him out. Joseph has shown, on many occasions, his obedience to God, by always doing exactly what God commanded, with no questions asked. This time was no different. Joseph and his family left at once, for Egypt.

In my previous post – An Invitation to a Very Special Birth – We see that the shepherds (considered lowly and who had nothing to offer as gifts) held a place of honour in Christ’s birth, being the first to meet and worship the King. As far as the Bible tells us, the shepherds were the only visitors to the manger on the night of His birth.

Whereas the magi were considered highly esteemed, and when they arrived, at the house where Jesus was living, they came bearing very expensive special gifts for Christ. These wise men had travelled a very long distance for the sole honour of worshipping Jesus.

Regardless of their rank or gifts, both groups received the knowledge that the child born, was the prophesied Messiah. Both the shepherds and the magi come before Christ with the perfect gift of all; to praise and worship Him, “The King of the Jews”.

Divine God

Father, when I started reading the Christmas story this year, it was like I was reading it for the very first time. So many new questions that I just had to study it further. I am thrilled and honored to pass along all that you showed and taught me about the birth of Jesus.

Thank you God for the gifts you give me on a continual basis. The knowledge, the belief, the faith and the understanding of who you really are. The joy, the happiness, the kindness, love for all men and of course the greatest love of all – YOU!

Thank you Father for the gift of your Son; Jesus. I ask that all people (who don’t know Jesus) would open their hearts and would see that he came to this earth to teach us about your perfect love and to be the Saviour for the world.

In the precious name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus,

I pray.

Amen

An Invitation to a Very Special Birth – Luke 2: 7-16

Luke 2: 7-16

[7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
[8] And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
[9] And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
[10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
[11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
[12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
[13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
[14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
[15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
[16] And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (KJV)

THE SHEPHERDS (on the night of Christ’s birth)

First, a bit of background information. People like Isaac and Jacob were considered blessed to have held the honorable and noble careers as shepherds. The Priest Jethro raised his daughters as shepherdesses and even David had once held the job of watching over the sheep.

However, as time went on, farming took precedence over shepherding. By the time of Christ’s birth, shepherds were outcasts and considered untrustworthy, thieves, third class, the lowest people of all. At the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds would never have been even considered for an invitation to any type of celebration, much less to welcome and give witness to a new born King.

People of that day, would have been horrified that the shepherds were invited to witness the brand new Messiah, especially since kings, priests, pharisees and other religious leaders were excluded. So why did God have angels call the shepherds to be the very first visitors to the baby Jesus?

God was obviously setting the stage for his Son and the work He was about to do.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus was consistently seeking out the poor, the sickly, those banished from town due to evil or diseases, the thieves, fishermen, tax collectors, robbers, sinners and all those who were considered not quite fit to be members of society. However, all were welcomed, loved and accepted by Jesus.

So we can see that inviting the shepherds, to be the first witnesses to the Holy Child, was done with purpose. Starting on the very first day of Christ’s life, the shepherd’s presence shows that no matter who we are, what we are, rich or poor, or even the number of or the degree of sins we carry; everyone is welcomed before the presence of Christ (God).

Luke tells us the story of the shepherds:

An angel appeared to shepherds; who were in the same country where Mary had just given birth, telling them that the Saviour, Christ the Lord was born in the City of David. The angel tells them where they can find the child and how they will know it is Him.

Then the sky was suddenly filled with (possibly) millions of angels who were singing and praising God for the Christ who is to bring peace and goodwill to the earth.

The angels, made quite clear that this particular baby was someone very special and deserving of everyone’s praises and worship. Yes, even the shepherds.

The shepherds didn’t waste any time after the Angels were gone. They left immediately and went into Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and saw the baby Christ, lying in a manager on that very night he was born.

Father

Thank you that you loved us enough to send your only Son, even knowing everything that he would have to face to bring salvation to the world.

Thank you that the stage was set, at the beginning of his birth. Every person (regardless of sin, sex, race, standing in society or occupation) can come before Jesus. As he grew up and began his ministry, he welcomed everyone that came to him, never turning anyone away that longed to hear the truth. Today is no different. All those who come before him, asking for forgiveness, mercy and grace, find love and salvation.

Thank you that the Holy Spirit was sent to us to continue what Jesus began. If we ask, the Holy Ghost will lead us, guide us and help Christians to walk (and stay on) the narrow path that leads to eternal life.

Thank you Father that these methods were not set in place as Plan B, but rather were the intention, to bring salvation from the beginning of the foundation of the earth.

In His holy name, I pray.

Amen

Walk with Jesus

With the coming of Easter, it is a good time to look at the week’s events prior to Jesus’ crucifixion.

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Please note that Mark’s Gospel is written in a chronological order while the other Gospels are written in a topical order. Matthew Henry, Jamieson Fausset Brown, Adam Clark and others have further information.

The following is a timetable I found that many Scholars and authors use when explaining the events that happened during Jesus’ last week before His death. You will see that Palm Sunday, in their interpretation, actually fell on a Monday.

Apparently there are different methods and calendars to use, which may account for the different days. I have chosen to use the following time table for the purpose of easier understanding,

If you believe it to be wrong, then by all means change the days to the ones that you are comfortable with. The main thing to remember is that all of the events in the Bible are true and that they all happened the week prior to the crucifixion.

1. Saturday

Arrival at Bethany
Disciples went for colt (colt is a young male donkey)

2. Sunday

Crowd came to see Jesus

3. Monday

Triumphal entry – called Palm Sunday
People and Disciples rejoicing
Jesus wept over city
Jesus’ arrival at Temple
Jesus went back to Bethany

4. Tuesday

Cursed a fig tree
Cleansed the Temple
Went back to Bethany at the home of Simon
Anointed with oil

5. Wednesday

Fig tree withered
Temple controversy – Judas talks of betrayal to priests
Went back to Bethany
Gave the Olivet Discourse

6. Thursday

Passover dinner (Last Supper)
Jesus gives Judas a chance to confess
Peter denies Jesus’ prediction
Prayed at Golgatha
Betrayed by Judas
Peter tries to fight the soldiers on Jesus’ behalf
Peter cuts off mans ear
Jesus heals ear back onto mans body
Disputes the miracle, Jesus is arrested
Disciples disappear

7. Friday- early morning

Judas takes money and tries to give it back
Judas hangs himself on a tree.
Peter denies Jesus as predicted
Jesus goes on trial
People given a chance to release either Barabbas or Jesus
People chose to release Barabbas – notorious prisoner
Pilate washes his hands of guilt upon Jesus’ death
They people cry out that they will accept responsibility for Jesus’ death – them and their children.
Soldiers mock Jesus

Friday afternoon

The journey to Golgotha begins
A man in the crowd is picked to carry Jesus’s cross
Simon carries the cross as Jesus is too weak
Jesus is nailed to the cross
A criminal is placed on each side of Jesus’ cross
Crowd mocks Jesus
Religious leaders mock Jesus

Darkness came at noon across the whole land
darkness continued until 3 pm
Jesus calls out at 3pm – has a drink
Then calls out again and releases his spirit
The curtain in the sanctuary was torn in 2 from top to bottom
Next came an earthquake and tombs opened
Bodies of godly men and woman who had died were raised from the dead and appeared to many people in Jerusalem.

The burial

Joseph (a rich man who had followed Jesus) went to Pilate, asked for and received permission to take Jesus’ body down
Joseph offers his tomb and Jesus was wrapped and placed inside.
Leading priests went to Pilate and asked for guards to watch over the tomb site
Pilate agreed. Guards arrived, rolled śtone in place and guards stayed to watch over the tomb.

8. Resurrection

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary visit the tomb
Earthquake – Angel rolled the stone away and sat on top of it
Guards saw angel and fainted
Angel told women to go and tell others that Jesus is risen!
Soldiers were bribed by the leading priests to say that Jesus’ friends had taken the body away.
Unfortunately many today, still believe that lie.

The following are scriptures for more reading…

Jesus predicts his own death (plainly) – Matthew 16:21-28, Mark 8:31-38
Arrival at Bethany – Mark 11:1-7.John 12:1-8
Crowd came to see Jesus –John 12:9-11
Triumphal Entry – Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:35-38
Found the temple empty – back to Bethany – Mark 11:11
Cursed the fig tree – Matthew 21:18-19, Mark 11:12-14
Cleansed the temple – Matt. 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46
Priests and religious leaders plot to kill Jesus – Mark 11:18
Jesus and disciples return to Bethany – Mark 11:19
Fig tree withered – Matthew 21:20-22, Mark 11:20-26
Temple controversy – Matthew 21-Matthew 23 incl., Mark 11:27 – Mark 12:44
Olivet Discourse – Matthew 24-25, Mark 13:1-30, Luke 21:5-36
Jesus anointed at Bethany – Matthew 26:6-10, Mark 14:3-9
Plot to kill Jesus – Matthew 26:1-5, Mark 14:1-2,
Betrayed by Judas – Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11
Last Supper – Mathew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:14-30
Jesus predicts Peter’s denial – Matt. 26:31-35, Mark 14:27-31
Jesus prays in Gethsemane – Mark 14:32-42
Judas betrays for silver – Matthew 26:47-50, Mark 14:43-45
Jesus arrested – Matthew 26:50-56, Mark 14:46 – 49
Disciples flee – Matthew 26:56, Mark 14:50-52
Jesus before the council – Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65
Peter denies Jesus – Matthew 26:69-76, Mark 14:66-72
Jesus’ trial before Pilate – Mark 15:1-15
Soldiers mock Jesus – Mark 15:16-20
Judas hangs himself – Matthew 27:1-10,
Jesus’ trial before Pilate – Matthew 27:11-26
Simon from Cyrene – Mark 15:21
Soldiers mock Jesus – Matthew 27:27-31
The Crucifixion – Matthew 27:32-44, Mark 15:22-32
Death of Jesus – Matthew 27:45-56, Mark 15:33-41
Burial of Jesus – Matthew 27:57-66, Mark 15:42-47
Guard at the Tomb – Matthew 27:62-66,
The Resurrection – Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-20
The report of the guard – Matthew 28:11-15
The Great Commission – Matthew 28:16-20