Sunday, April 4, 2010


Sunday morning....Sabbath is dawn was approaching, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and several other women followers of Jesus, made their way to the tomb. An earthquake shattered the morning silence and when they arrived at the tomb, they found the HUGE boulder rolled away from the tomb!! They had been wondering on their way there how they would move it is was moved aside. They peeked inside. Jesus's body was gone!!! Instead there was an angel sitting there where He had been lain and He spoke to them saying "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. HE IS RISEN!!! "

As noted yesterday, the disciples had fled on the night Jesus was arrested. Some...maybe all of them...had watched the scene unfold at a distance. When it was over, they had fled to a room and hid in fear and trembling behind closed doors. The women, on the other hand, had followed Joseph of Arimathea all the way to the tomb and watched as he prepared the body, noting where he was placed. As soon as it was light enough after the Sabbath, they hurried back there. Still, no sign of the disciples. Why were these women so devoted? I've thought about it a lot. I really think that it is because of our makeup as women that found them returning. Women are more relationship oriented than men. Men are goal oriented. The disciples' goal was to follow Jesus and see Him set up His kingdom. Instead he was killed, gone forever (they thought). They were confused, perplexed and saddened. The women loved Jesus. Their hearts were drawn to Him. He had set Mary Magdalene free from 7 demons!! She would NEVER forget Him!! And now, even in death, they wanted to do all they could for Him. So they risked all to return to anoint the body of the One whom they loved and cherished.

Can you just imagine what it must have been like to see that stone rolled away and an angel where Jesus had been ? To hear his words "HE IS RISEN"!!!! They could hardly believe their eyes. Then the angel reminded them "Remember how He spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying 'The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day?' " And then, Mary and the others DID remember. So they rushed to tell the disciples the good news. The disciples could not believe it. They thought it was nonsense. But....just in case...Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves. It was true!! Not only was He gone, but the linen wrappings were still there and the napkin which had covered his face was there, neatly folded in a separate place, away from the linen wrappings. Could it be? Jesus was really alive?????

Yes, HE IS ALIVE!! He lives today! Of all the religious figures who ever lived, who are the basis of any religion, Jesus is the ONLY one who is ALIVE!!!!! Muhammed is not alive. Buddha is not alive. Joseph Smith is not alive. But....JESUS IS ALIVE!!

You may ask, "How do you KNOW He is alive? Have you seen Him? With my physical eyes...NO, not in human form. But I have seen him in a sunrise with blazing colors that take away your breath. I have seen him in the miracle of a newborn baby. I have seen him in the delicate beauty of a flower, with all its intricacies that did not happen by accident. I have seen him in lives changed. Have you heard Him? Not with my physical ears...not an audible voice. But I've heard Him still. I hear him in the wind, in the song of the birds, the crashing of the waves of the ocean. But more importantly, I've heard Him with my heart. I've heard Him speak from His Word. But most of all, I KNOW He lives because He lives within ME! The words of a song that we used to always sing at my mother-in-law's church, says it best :

I serve a risen Savior
He's in the world today
I know that He is living
Whatever men may say

I see His hand of mercy
I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him
He's always near

He lives, He lives
Christ Jesus lives today
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way

He lives, He lives
Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!

l---Alfred Ackley, 1933

The whole point of our journey this week has been to get to today...EASTER SUNDAY. The whole point of Jesus' life was to get to Easter Sunday. Although we focus a lot on what happened Friday...and it IS significant. Jesus had to die to atone for our sins. God says "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin". Hebrews 9:22. But had he remained in the grave, we would have not had life. Because He lives, we will live too.

In fact, I think it is important to note that there are only 2 kinds of people....dead or alive. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor; black, white or red; American, European, African or Israeli; elite or homeless; tall or short, skinny or fat; none of that matters. It doesn't matter if you are on a church roll, if you are preacher, priest or rabbi; if you have written a thousand Christian books or worshipped Satan himself. You are either dead or alive. And what is the one thing dead people need most? It's not a bath or fancy clothes. It's not a new car or a mansion. It's not prestigious title or a fat checkbook. No, the one thing dead people need is life. And Jesus came to offer that to each of us. He came to offer that to YOU!! Why? Because if you have never received the free gift He offers to you through His death on the cross, you are still dead in your sins. You may be walking and talking in the flesh. But you are spiritually dead. We are ALL born spiritually dead, children of Adam. Jesus said "I came that you might have LIFE".

We each come into this world spiritually dead, owing a sin debt. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". (Romans 3:23) "There is none righteous, no not one!" (Romans 3:10). "The wages of sin is death" (Romans. 6:23). But, God sent His only Son into the world to pay that sin debt for each of us. When He hung on that cross from noon til 3:00 pm, God poured out His wrath on Jesus instead of on us. He bore the sins of the world and paid that debt that each of us owed. God could have stamped across the cross PAID IN FULL!! Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay. And now He offers to each of us that free gift. "For by grace are you saved through faith, not of works, lest any many should boast." (Ephesians 2: 8,9) We cannot earn it, we cannot buy it, we cannot even steal it. It is a free to us, but it cost God His only Son. It's not about what we DO, it's about what HE has already DONE. All that we must do is to believe and receive. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on that cross to pay our sin debt and trust Him to do what He said He would do, come into our hearts and lives and give us eternal life with Him, taking us to Heaven when we die, to live with Him forever and ever.

Why would He do that? Because He loved us so much!! "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son......whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells i him and he in God." (I John 4: 10, 12) "God sent his only begotten son into the world that we might live through Him" (I John 4 :9) "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

To sum it up, I want to take you to a webpage and ask you to listen to a song and read the lyrics. I think it will sum it up better than anything I could say. To me, it should have been the theme song to THE PASSION OF CHRIST. I pray you will take just a few minutes and go there today. I believe it will make your Easter even more meaningful. Go to:

Thank you for taking this journey to Easter with me. It has been a meaningful journey for me as I hope it has been for you. I hope it has made your Easter more significant. Remember, you are either dead or alive. Dead in your sins because you have never trusted Christ and received His free gift or you are alive IN HIM because you have received that free gift. If you have not, you can do it this very second. Just pray and ask Jesus to come into your life. Ask him to forgive your sins, to take control of your life and to be your Savior. He will do it. He said "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Call or email me if you want more information.


There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as he stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!

No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the pow'r of Christ in me
From life' s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Til he returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

--In Christ Alone by Edward More

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Jesus died around 3:00 pm Friday. The Jewish Sabbath would begin at sundown that day. Time was short.

Normally, bodies of those crucified were left on the cross as prey for the birds, the final humiliation. However, Jews always buried their dead. Crucifixion was a slow death. It often took men days to die. "Since the Sabbath was approaching, it was necessary to speed up the process. Because of the Law (Deut. 21: 22-23), a body was not to remain exposed on a tree [cross] overnight and certainly not on a Sabbath. A person so executed under God's curse and his body if left exposed would defile the land. (Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13) "* Breaking the legs sped up the process by causing shock and loss of blood as well as the inability of the victim to push himself up to breathe. John records in John 19: 31-37 that the Jews requested that legs of the 3 on the crosses be broken and their bodies be taken away. The soldiers came and broke the legs of the other 2 men, but "when they came to Jesus, they did not break His legs since they saw that He was already dead. But one of the soldiers pierced His body (just to be sure He was dead)." Why is this significant? He was the spotless Lamb. "For these things happened so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled: Not one of His bones will be broken. Also another Scripture says : They will look at the One they pierced."

It is really amazing how many scriptures prophesied about Jesus' coming and dying and resurrection. It is my understanding that there are around 120 scriptures that foretold of His birth, death, and resurrection. Still, many who saw Him and watched this event occur, went away still unbelieving. Yet Jesus died for them and paid their sin debt just as He did for the thief who died beside Him and the centurion who cried out at the end "Surely this was the Son of God!".

As dark was approaching that Friday afternoon, a man named Joseph came to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus. A request that Pilate granted. Joseph was a rich man, a member of the Sanhedrin, but who did not consent to the death of Jesus. Luke records that he was a "good and righteous man" from Arimathea and was "looking forward to the Kingdom of God". John also records that he was a "secret disciple" for fear of the Jews. Nicodemus, the one who had come to question Jesus by night, also helped Joseph. No longer were these men going to be "secret disciples". A group of women followed, including Mary Magdalene, who sat across from the tomb until sundown. Joseph took down Jesus' body from the cross. He brought 75# of spices to prepare His body for burial, a large and costly amount. Embalming was not done at that time, so the body would be wrapped and soaked in the spices to delay the decaying process. Joseph brought fine linen to wrap the body in as well as the enormous amount of spices. All of this was an act of love and devotion which he now did publicly. He had a personal tomb in a garden, hewn out of a rock that had never been used. In it they gently laid the body of their Savior and Friend and rolled a stone across the entrance. They rested on the Sabbath.

The next day (Saturday) the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate saying "Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was alive, He said 'After three days I will rise again'. Therefore give orders that the tomb be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may steal Him and tell the people, 'He has been raised from the dead'. Then the last deception will be worse than the first." (Matt. 27: 62-66) Pilate agreed and sent soldiers to not only guard the tomb, but to seal it as well. Most likely a heavy wax seal and cord were adhered to it, so that if broken it could be detected. The guards were to keep it secure. If one were to fall asleep on the job, it was punishable by death.

Isn't it interesting that the disciples had fled, but this group of unbelievers remembered Jesus words "I'll rise again the third day"?

The Sabbath (sundown Friday to sundown Sat.) would constitute the 2nd day of Jesus burial. It was a day of rest for the Jews. The Romans would be guarding the tomb day and night. The disciples were hold up in secrecy behind locked doors, fearing some would come after them. They thought it was all over. Questions about Jesus no doubt filled their minds. The group of women followers was, no doubt, in deep mourning. Those who had spent the most time with Jesus, who knew him best, still didn't get it.

Maybe you, too, have been in church all your life. You've heard 1,000 sermons. You've read the Bible from time to time. You know all the "Bible stories". You know the "talk". Maybe you are even on a church roll somewhere. But you've missed the point. Maybe it has never ever really made sense to you. Or maybe you've never really thought about it. You've been busy making a life, or so you thought. But there has always been something missing. You are successful financially, you have a great family, life is good....but there is still something missing. Or maybe at one time, you walked with the Lord, had a close relationship with Him, and sought to live for Him, but somewhere along the way you got off the track, you turned your back on Him, you don't feel like you could ever call on Him again after all you've done and how far you've strayed. Maybe you feel like Peter must have felt after betraying Jesus, not once but three times, after declaring he would NEVER leave Jesus. If you are in either of these camps or anywhere in between, I want you to know that the story does NOT end here. It is Saturday,





*Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament edition, by John Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck

Friday, April 2, 2010


Thursday evening (but remember… to the Jews it is the beginning of Friday), Jesus and the disciples have finished the Passover meal and they are heading to the garden. Jesus wants to pray....and the clock is ticking....

As they arrive at Gethsemane, Jesus tells the disciples to "watch and pray lest you enter into temptation". He goes "about a stone's throw" from them and kneels to pray. Remember, it is evening, it's been a long day. They are full (they just finished a meal, not juice and a cracker chip), they are tired and as they close their eyes to pray, they fall asleep. Has this ever happened to you? It sure has happend to me. You have the best intentions of praying, but soon you can't hold your eyes open. All evening Jesus had been telling them "I must go away", "A little while and you will no longer see me", "I am going to the Father", but they just didn't get it. The clock was ticking, but they had no idea that this would be the longest night of their lives.

How often do we neglect to pray when IF we only knew what the day would bring, we would RUN to our prayer closet to seek guidance, strength and help for the next 24 hours? Have you ever been so burdened that you couldn't wait to get alone with the Lord? When being with Him is ALL you wanted to do, because you knew HE was your only hope...I've been there, and I think sometimes God allows those heartrending situations in our lives just so they will drive us to that point. But none of us have ever been as heavy as Jesus was that night.

The clock was ticking and Jesus KNEW. A stone's throw from the disciples, he was in agony as they slept. If any one of us had known what was about to occur as Jesus did, we would have probably run like Jonah! But Jesus prayed. He asked the Father if there was any other way. I think we see his human side here more than ever. If you have not read this passage lately, I urge you to go and read it in all 4 gospels and pay attention to the details. Jesus was in anguish to the point of death. So much so, that God sent an angel to minister to Him and strengthen Him. So much so that he sweat drops of blood. This is not a figurative term, he literally sweat drops of blood. It was anguish like none of us has ever known. He pled with the Father, "if there is any way....BUT not my will but thine be done". Jesus was NOT in anguish over the physical suffering he was about to endure, though that would have been understandable. Jesus was in anguish because he realized that He would be separated from the Father while He bore our sins. I do not think God had totally revealed that to Him til that moment.

You and I are born in sin, spiritually dead, but physically alive, just like Adam after the fall. God had removed His spirit from him after he sinned. Just as God had told him and Eve, "you will surely die". They thought physical death, God meant spiritually. But Jesus was born spiritually alive because He had been fathered by God Himself. He had never known one second of being spiritually dead, separated from His Father's Spirit. The prospect of that was killing him!!
In this body, we have struggled with sin since the day we were born. But not Jesus. He had never sinned, never known a sinful thought, never been separated from the Father. It is hard for us to comprehend that, or to comprehend how difficult it was going to be for that to happen to Him. But, it was all part of the plan, and the clock was ticking....

Judas must now come and betray him. He comes with many soldiers, he is arrested and the disciples flee just as Jesus had predicted they would. In the city, Peter denies him as the rooster crows. Jesus is mocked, spit upon and beaten before the morning light. Soon the darkest day in history will dawn, and the clock is still ticking....

Dawn breaks and they bring Jesus to Caiaphas, then to Pilate. A mock trial is held, Jesus is beaten beyond recognition. The cruelty of it is beyond our comprehension. When I think of the scenes portrayed in the PASSION OF CHRIST I still cannot bear it. My heart comes up into my throat, my eyes fill with tears. I could not bear to watch most of the beating. No man should ever have had to endure what He did, but He did and He did it all for me....and for YOU! It was part of the plan.

9:00 am Friday morning....Jesus is hung on a cross between two thieves. Crucifixion was a horrible way to die...a slow, agonizing, excruciating, painful way to die. But Jesus bore it for you and for me. Max Lucado, in his book HE CHOSE THE NAILS, stated that if the soldiers had not nailed him there, He would have somehow nailed himself to the cross. It was part of the plan, they did not take his life from Him, he willingly laid it down for you and for me. HE CHOSE THE NAILS!!!

From 9:00 am til noon, Jesus suffered the wrath man, but from noon til 3:00 pm he suffered the wrath of God....what He had so desperately feared and dreaded. It was hell for Him. For those 3 hours, God turned his face away and removed His spirit from Jesus as he took on all the sins of the world....all that you would ever commit....all that I would ever commit...ALL the sins of the world!! The sky darkened and the world was dark in the middle of the day. The earth shook, the veil in the Temple was split in two and all Heaven groaned as God poured out His wrath on Jesus...the wrath He should have poured out on you and me. Jesus, who just hours ago had cried out to His Father, crying "Abba", which translated means "Daddy", is now crying out for the only time in scripture "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" God was now in the role of judge and Jesus cried out to Him!

At 3:00 pm God returned His spirit to Jesus. The plan was complete. Jesus said "IT IS FINISHED"!! He bowed His head and dismissed His spirit. He was in control to the very end. He had said "No man takes my life from me, I lay it down." He laid it down, bore our sin, endured the agony of the cross, choosing the nails....He did it all for YOU and for ME.

Think on that today. He did it all for you. What love!!!!!

But that is not the end of the story.......

It is Friday


Sunday (Easter) is coming...............!