May 21, 2012

WOW Jesus 18

wowjesus.jpg

18. Jesus The Ascended King

Right mouse click to save this podcast episode as a mp3

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus’ resurrection is the catalyst for the mission of the church, beginning with the disciples and throughout history. Jesus’ mission to earth is coming to an end and shortly He will be returning to the right hand of the Father. Before He does so though, He has some more words to say to His disciples.

Jesus’ Authority

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ authority is a major theme. Where Matthew records Jesus doing miracles, this is to highlight Jesus authority in action and not just merely in words. Matthew records Jesus’ authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6) and he imparted authority to his disciples for a short time when they went on a mission in Matthew 10. Jesus has authority (Matthew 28:18) over all things, all people, all circumstances and happenings. Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings, whether angels or demons. Jesus has authority over all nations, governments and rulers. Jesus has authority over all earthly and spiritual authorities. Jesus has the authority. This means regardless of what ever the Christian Disciple faces, Jesus is in control. Therefore, as Christian Disciples, we can obey him without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm us. We can obey him regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is a great comfort to know, that he is in control of everything!! Through his death on the cross and his rising from the dead, Jesus has conquered all enemies.

Now people sometimes confuse authority with authoritarian. Authoritarian means severe, rigidity and a dictator. None of these applies to Jesus. We have been given a free will, but as his Disciples, we should choose to exercise our free will to obey him and live a life worthy of him. As the Christian depends on Jesus’ authority, the Christian Disciple gains wisdom, guidance, and power.

You Go

If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then the Disciples would not have had a story to tell. But Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and the early church exploded numerically as the twelve Disciples exercised Jesus’ authority and His power. We read about the growth of the early church in the Book of Acts.

Christianity is a faith whereby all Christian Disciples are to tell others of the goodness of God. Indeed God Himself is a missionary God. Ever since Genesis 3 and the fall of man, God has been on a mission to bring and call people back to himself. That was the purpose of the nation of Israel, to be a light to all nations of the goodness and glory of God! That was purpose when God, who is outside of time and space, entered human history taking on human flesh and restricted himself in a human body as the man we know as Jesus Christ. Jesus’ whole mission was one of calling people back to life in God. As followers of Jesus Christ, all Christian Disciples are to evangelize. Evangelism is showing and telling others of God’s message of reconciliation to all people of all time. It is not forcing people to adopt Church standards (1 Corinthians 5:12) and nor is it simply a message of join the church as a symbol of good works (Ephesians 2:v8-10).

Why evangelize? The prime motivation for evangelism is out of gratitude for what God has done, in that we love because he loved us first. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:14, For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.” As his servants we are to tell and live out God’s reconciling message

As I said before, we are all to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5). In these last words of Matthew’s Gospel, all Christian Disciples are to make disciples throughout the whole earth! Making disciples is not just evangelism but ensuring that guidance and care is given to new Christian disciples. How is this achieved? How can the Christian Disciple exhibit Jesus’ authority and power in evangelism? Who gives the impetus for Christian Disciples? That is part of the role of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would come once He had ascended back to the right hand of God the Father.

The Holy Spirit is coming

This is in fulfilment of Ezekiel 36:27 “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws”, where the Almighty and All-powerful God will indwell those who follow him. Throughout his ministry Jesus had talked about how after he was to depart, and that the Holy Spirit would come (John 15:26).

We know from the other writings in the New Testament who the Holy Spirit is and what his ministry is.

The Holy Spirit is spoken of as God (1 Corinthians 3:16). The attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit - life (Romans 8:2), truth (John 16:13) and love (Romans 15:30).

The Holy Spirit is also a Person and is always referred to as ‘he’ in the New Testament (John 16:14). He relates to us as a person for he is comforter, guide and teacher (John 14). He can be blasphemed against and be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father and Son are also present because they are one. (John 14:18-23).

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and what does e have to do with Christian Disciples?

1. Glorify Christ: This is the Spirit’s prime role, that he will glorify Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is to be praised and glorified (John 16:13-14). He will testify for Jesus Christ (John 15:26). He will witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).

2. The Paraclete – Comforter: He is one called to stand alongside (John 14:16). Jesus said it would be better for him to go away and send the Holy Spirit to live in us (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit ministers to us all that Jesus would be to us if he were here in person.

3. Declares God’s Word: The Holy Spirit has a prime role in revelation. It was he that spoke through the prophets (Ezekiel 2:2) and it was he who inspired the Bible, God’s Word (2 Peter 1:21). Further to this, the Holy Spirit interprets and illuminates God’s Word (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16) to people!

4. Conviction: The Holy Spirit is sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8)

5. Salvation: Christian Disciples are born of the Holy Spirit and are known as regenerated (John 3:3-8)

6. Indwelling: God lives inside each Christian Disciple through the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot be a Christian Disciple (Romans 8:9; Gal 2:20; Colossians 1:25-27)

7. Sealing / Ownership: The Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian Disciple is assured proof of being God’s possession (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:3)

8. Security: The Holy Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing our future redemption, salvation and inheritance (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22).

9. Filling: This speaks of the Holy Spirit’s control or domination of our lives. The imperative here is that we are to be filled (Ephesians 5:18), and go on being filled. He gives power to enable Christian Disciples to evangelise (Acts 1:8; 4:8, 31).

10. Sanctification: The Holy Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 7-18), as we walk, live in, and are led by the Spirit (Galatians. 5:16; Romans 8:13).

11. Baptism: This expression occurs 7 times in the New Testament. It occurs 4 times in the gospels, referring to Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 1 Corinthians 12:13 states that we are all baptized with the Holy Spirit into one body.

12. Service: The Holy Spirit equips us for service. God is working in you to will and to act accordingly to his purpose (Phil. 2:13), to be my witnesses (Acts 1:8).

How is the Spirit seen? The Spirit’s work is in evidence where people’s lives become more holy and more like Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 13:7).

The Holy Spirit equips Christian Disciples for service through the giving of spiritual gifts. Elsewhere on this website that has been discussed.

Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Read Matthew 28:16-20. How does the authority of Jesus aid me in evangelism?

Q2. Read John 21. How am I carrying my cross for the sake of Jesus Christ?

Q3. How is the presence of the Holy Spirit transforming me into the image of Jesus Christ?

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website and receive an email when anything new is posted!

Subscribe via iTunes

I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

May 20, 2012

WOW Jesus 17

wowjesus.jpg

17. Jesus the Risen King

Right mouse click to save this podcast episode as a mp3

1 Corinthians 15:1-8: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, all tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb. What do these four Gospels say about the resurrection and Jesus’ rising from the dead?

Let us first look at the sequence of events over the period of time after Jesus death till He ascended. Some of the sequence events have more than one Gospel reporting them, but for brevity, I will only give one reference to Scripture.

The tomb is empty

  • Two Marys watch the burial: Matthew27:61, Mark 15:47, Luke23:54-55,
  • Roman soldiers guard the tomb: Matthew 27:62-66,
  • Women prepare spices then rest: Luke 23:56,
  • An angel rolls the stone away: Matthew 28:2-4
  • Women arrive at dawn with spices: Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-4, Luke 24:1-3, John 20:1
  • Angels appear to women: Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:5-7, Luke 24:4-8,
  • Women dart back to tell disciples: Matthew 28:8, Mark 16:8, Luke 24:9-11, John 20:2
  • Peter and John investigate the empty tomb: Luke 24:12, John 20:3-9
  • Peter and John go home: Luke 24:12, John 20:10
  • Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb: John 20:11
  • Mary sees two angels: John 20:12-13

Jesus’ appearances

  • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: Mark 16:9, John 20:14-17
  • Jesus appears to the other women: Matthew 28:9-10,
  • Women report to the disciples: Mark 16:10-11, John 20:18
  • Guards testify to the priests: Matthew 28:11-15,
  • Jesus meets two people on the Emmaus Road: Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32,
  • Jesus appears to Simon Peter: 1 Corinthians 15:5, Luke 24:34,
  • 2 report to disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24:33-35,
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples less Thomas: Luke 24:36-43, John 20:19-24
  • Disciples report to Thomas: John 20:25
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples and Thomas: Mark 16:14, John 20:26-29
  • Jesus appears to seven people: John 21:1-14
  • Jesus questions Peter 3 times: John 21:15-23
  • Jesus appears to 500 people: 1 Corinthians 15:6
  • Jesus appears to James: 1 Corinthians 15:7

Evidences for the resurrection

These facts remain for the resurrection:

  • The changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus. They changed from defeated, cowardly people to victorious, brave people.
  • Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so. Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles.
  • The multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.

The survival and inordinate growth and impact of the early church. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus’ would people really have risked persecution and death for a knowing lie?

Dealing with Doubters

Let’s say Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Surely the authorities would have produced his dead body in order to quench the new movement! But they didn’t.

Secondly, would the disciples have really risked death for telling and maintaining a lie about the risen Jesus? They were beaten, confused and defeated men until they saw Jesus truly did rise from the dead. After seeing Him, they were transformed and victorious people.

Thirdly, somebody stole the body. Hardly likely, and if that did occur, for what reason? How would they have got past the Roman Guard and moved the stone a great distance from the tomb?

Fourthly, Jesus didn’t die but merely fainted and recovered consciousness in the tomb. Even the sceptics disagree with this theory, one of whom said “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life”.

Fifthly, they all went to the wrong tomb. Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done.

Lastly, Jesus didn’t die on the cross but somebody was substituted for him. This is certainly untenable, given the rigidity and strict record keeping of Roman rule and with the eyes of the Jewish hierarchy watching.

Significance of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1:22; Acts 4:33, Acts 17:18). But what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

The resurrection proved and vindicated all Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to his being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:13-15; Romans 1:4).

Declared God’s approval of Jesus’ obedient service and the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises, resulting in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ, which was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2:32, Romans 4:24-25)

Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15:12-58, Romans 8:10, 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Peter 1:3 & 21)

As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow him (Romans 5:10; Hebrews 6:20, 1 Peter 1:21).

Jesus still meets people today

As Jesus is still living, he meets with people at the present time. How does he do this? Jesus walks with us, whereever we go and in particular in the darkest periods of our life. Just as he did with the two people on the road to Emmaus, he walks with those who claim to follow him (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32). Jesus speaks whenever the Bible is faithfully preached and read from, just as he opened the eyes of those on the Emmaus road when he explained the Scriptures (Luke 24:27). Jesus meets us in the Communion, with the bread and wine, which symbolise his flesh and blood.

For more to think about please do read John 20 & 21. Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How does my faith journey compare to that of Thomas’?

Q2. What can I learn from Peter and the responses he gave?

Q3. How do I still encounter the risen Lord in my daily walk with him?

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website and receive an email when anything new is posted!

Subscribe via iTunes

I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

May 19, 2012

WOW Jesus 16

wowjesus.jpg

16. Jesus The Dying King

Right mouse click to save this podcast episode as a mp3

Isaiah 52:13-14: See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—

Isaiah 53:10-11: Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Isaiah, centuries before Jesus’ birth, was speaking about Jesus. As we look together briefly at John 19, correlate the two passages and see how they interlink!

1. What of Jesus?

a. Jesus was Condemned

Pilate gave in and permitted the flogging and mockery in the hope of shaming Jesus’ accusers (John 19:s. 1-3). Pilate affirmed Jesus’ innocence after the scourging (John 19:4). Jesus’ refusal to answer stung Pilate into reminding Jesus of his Roman authority (John 19:10). Jesus, however, corrected Pilate’s idea of authority and told him that although Pilate may have power on earth, his power did reach beyond earth (John 19:11). Jesus knew that his work of bring people back to God in a loving relationship did not rest on the actions of a mere Roman governor. Pilate was more concerned with his own position than he was for justice. Jesus was the true Passover lamb.

b. Jesus was Crucified

Jesus, bearing his own cross, was killed as a common criminal (John 19:17). Pilate was responsible for fixing the sign “The King of the Jews” (John 19:21-22). Clothes of condemned men were given to soldiers on duty (John 19:23).

Jesus showed concern for his mother, even when he himself was in agony, committing her to the Apostle John (John 19:s.26-27).

The crucifixion site “was purposely chosen to be outside the city walls because the Law forbade such within the city walls… for sanitary reasons… the crucified body was sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers-by.”

Jesus’ final moments – “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) and “It is finished.” (John 19:30).

The desire of the Jews (John 19:32) to fulfil their rituals was important because the Sabbath fell within the Passover festival. The breaking of legs (John 19:s.32-33) speeded up the process of death. The piercing of Jesus’ side and the flow of blood and water proved Jesus was really dead (John 19:34).

c. Jesus was Buried

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried Jesus. The significance of “in which no-one had ever been laid” (John 19:41) is to demonstrate that the body of Jesus at no point came into contact with the decay of a dead body.

2. What Has Jesus’ Death Done For All Mankind?

  • Our natural state – Romans 3:23 – (We are all sinners).
  • Forgiveness – Ephesians 1:7 – (God forgives our sins).
  • Peace – Romans 5:1 – (We have peace with God).
  • Reconciled us to God – 2 Corinthians 5:19 – (No longer enemies with God).
  • Justified us – Romans 3:24-26 – (Makes us just before God).
  • Cleanses us from sin – 1 John 1:7
  • Makes us right before God – 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Gives us direct access to God – Ephesians 2:18
  • Freedom from the power of slavery to sin – Galatians 5:1
  • Freedom from the power of the devil – Hebrews 2: 14
  • Gives us Christ’s intercession – Hebrews 2:17-18

None of the above things apply to those who do not follow Jesus.

3. Why did Jesus go to the cross?

3a The problem!

Sin is what separates humans from God and as a consequence leads to both a spiritual and physical death (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Isaiah 59:2). In the Old Testament, sins were dealt with by blood sacrifices of atonement as coverings for sin (Leviticus 17:11), for without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). A blood sacrifice is God's way of dealing with sin. These blood sacrifices of the Old Testament signified several things:

  • It provided a covering for sin.
  • It showed the great cost of sin.
  • It was an exchange or substitution.
  • It was only always going to be a temporary measure, as it pointed forward to Jesus' death

3b. The Solution!

The solution lies not in continual animal sacrifice of the Old Testament because Hebrews 10:4 reminds us that the blood of animals cannot take away sin but was only a veneer or covering. That was why it was necessary to repeat time and time again! It is only through the death of Jesus, that sin is taken away (Hebrews 9:v11-15, 26-28), because Jesus is our permanent sacrificial substitute!

3c. Substitution

Jesus died for our sin, the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). That is how God is both just and the justifier of sinners. That is why Jesus needed to be both fully God and fully human! If he lacked either, it would not be the full substitutionary sacrifice that was necessary to bear the permanent consequences of sin! When Jesus died on the cross, in our place, he bore the consequences of all sin – past, present and future. He therefore became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and it was His precious blood as a lamb without spot or blemish (1Peter 1:18-19) that fulfils God’s requirements permanently.

3d. Propitiation

Towards sin and sinful behaviour, God has great fury, anger and wrath (Jeremiah 21:5). Yet as Micah 7:18 “He is slow to anger and quick to forgive”. Propitiation basically means the turning aside of God's anger by the offering of the sacrifice of Christ. God's anger and judgment of sin falls on Christ, instead of us. We need to approach God to appease his anger, in order to accept it (Romans 3:25; Isaiah 53:5; John 2:2, 5:6).

1 John 2:2: He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10: This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice (or propitiation) to take away our sins.

3e. Redemption (Ransom) Mark 10:45

Not only was it propitiation, but also an act of redemption! In the time of the New Testament, this word was used to refer to the buying back of a slave - the price paid to buy the slave’s freedom. God paid redemption so that humans can be freed from the slavery to sin (John 8:35 Romans 7:14). The price was paid (1 Peter 1:18-19) and so we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). But it is our responsibility to choose that way! God does not coerce forcefully – he leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals.

What is our response to this to be? Sacrifice, substitution, propitiation and redemption can be summed up in one word: love. For 1 John 3:16 states: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” Jesus told us to take up our cross if we are to follow Him as his Disciple (Luke 9:23). Are you as a Christian Disciple willing to take up your cross and do all you can do to love others?

Price to pay for true followers and disciples:

  • We must surrender completely to him
  • We must identify with him in suffering and death
  • We must follow him obediently, wherever he leads.

For more to think about please do read John 18-19. Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. In the light of Jesus teaching about suffering under persecution, how far am I prepared to go as his disciple?

Q2. Why was it necessary that Jesus be both fully human and fully God?

Q3. How is Jesus a king and how does that affect my relationship with him?

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website and receive an email when anything new is posted!

Subscribe via iTunes

I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

Load more

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App