March 31, 2013

AGOG 31

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March 31

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Jesus Crucified and Dead

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Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are now on Day 31 of our adventure, looking together at the life of the most amazing person in human history - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Today is the last in this series and we look at the events after Jesus’ death!

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Jesus was crucified, dead and buried. Frequently Jesus taught that he would rise from the dead. He was mocked for it when on the cross. The disciples had seemingly forgotten this and were hiding in fear at any retribution by the Jewish religious authorities. At his tomb, there were both Temple and Roman Guards to ensure nobody could steal the body of Jesus.

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Events at the Empty Tomb

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John 20:1-10

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’ So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped round Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

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Matthew 28:11-15

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

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Let us first look at the sequence of events over the period of time after Jesus death till He ascended. Now remember, the Gospels are documents which have recorded historical events.

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  • • Two Marys watch the burial: (Matthew27:61, Mark 15:47, Luke23:54-55)
  • • Roman soldiers guard the tomb and place an official Roman seal upon it: (Matthew 27:62-66)
  • • Women prepare burial 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)
  • • Before going back home: (Luke 24:12, John 20:10)
  • • Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb: (John 20:11)
  • • Mary sees two angels: (John 20:12-13)

That’s all the action at the empty tomb! The risen Jesus, with his new body makes appearances! Let us know look at them!

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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 2 1:1-14)
  • • Jesus reinstates Peter 3 times: (John 21:15-23)
  • • Jesus appears to 500 people: (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  • • Jesus appears to James: (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  • • Jesus gives the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • • Jesus ascends back to the Father (Acts 1:8-11)

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Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus did so. Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles. Jesus also made a multiple appearances to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances. When you read the gospel accounts, you will notice the changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus. They changed from defeated, cowardly people full of fear into victorious and brave people. They suddenly became an amazed and overjoyed people! At one appearance, when Jesus broke bread with them, the spiritual eyes of the disciples opened, and Jesus disappeared from them! WOW! The disciples had recognized Jesus! Another appearance shows that Jesus’ resurrection was physical in nature! Note that Jesus has a new body – a resurrection body – a glorified heavenly body! But he is not spirit as he has a body with bears the scars of his crucifixion, as evidenced when meeting with Thomas!

If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus, would the disciples really have risked persecution and death for knowing a lie? One or two may have done, but not all eleven and thats not including the women! They were full of fear remember! The very existence of the church today, 2000 years after the event, is perhaps the greatest tangible proof of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus did not merely faint on the cross – He died, as attested to by the Roman soldiers, Roman authorities, Jewish authorities, Joseph, Nicodemus, Mary and other women.. If Jesus was not dead on that cross, they would have broken his legs to ensure that He had died. No! Jesus was dead. Jesus rose from the dead, just as he had promised that he would many times during his ministry on earth.

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We let the Apostle John have the last word from John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

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Have you asked Jesus to be your Saviour yet? Jesus – the God-man who conquered sin and death who died and was raised to new life again by God. When you allow Jesus to be your saviour and rely on him for your salvation, you become spiritually alive! Until then, you are spiritually dead. But you can have spiritual life! What are you waiting for? Again, I ask, who do you say the Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him bring you to life spiritually? It is not too late! Today can be the day of your salvation and new life!

That is the last of this series! Come back every day, where there is something new to help you in your Christian life!

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March 30, 2013

AGOG 30

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March 30

Cross Events

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Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 29 of our adventure, looking together at the life of the most amazing person in human history - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Today we look briefly at events surrounding Jesus' death.

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1. Mockers and scoffers - Matthew 27:38-40

Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’

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Alongside Jesus, two robbers where placed. They had committed crimes against the Roman authorities and were justly crucified, as opposed to Jesus who was innocently crucified. This sees Jesus fulfilling the words of Isaiah 53:12 “he (Jesus) was numbered with other sinners.” The on looking Romans and Jews also mocked Jesus. Jesus could have come down if he had desired to do so. He could have ordered legions of angels to rescue him. But he didn’t. The two robbers, the two rebels, also mocked and jeered him. However, one of them repented and asks Jesus to save him as well. Jesus acknowledges his request and says they will indeed meet in Paradise. One robber repents and is saved and the other robber refuses and dies a lonely death.~

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2. Testimony and tearing - Matthew 27:50-54

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’~

Jesus gave up his life and could have stopped at any moment! He could have called down legions of angels to protect himself. But he didn’t. Not He gave his spirit up – nobody took it from him. When that happened amazing scenes took place! Tombs broke open and righteous people raised to life again. Romans and those guarding Jesus at the cross exclaimed that Jesus was indeed the Son of God! The curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom! Top to bottom signifies that God did the tearing! A human hand would have torn it from bottom to top! An amazing scene to behold! The curtain was the entrance to the most sacred place in the temple! The high priest was the only person allowed to enter to offer a sacrifice for the sins of Israel! It was considered sacred space because they considered that God dwelt in that room! Now the curtain was gone! This meant that no more sacrifices for sin needed to be made and access to God was available to all! This meant that what Jesus had said about being made a sacrifice for sin was true indeed! What Jesus had said about destroying the Temple came true! WOW! ~

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3. Dead and Buried - John 19:38-40

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

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Jesus has died and Pilate is surprised Jesus had died so quickly and has to check with his guard to verify the death! Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus ask permission from Pilate to bury Jesus. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin. He did not agree with the decision taken to condemn Jesus to death. So they take Jesus’ body and prepared his body in accordance with Jesus customs. Some women also came and added spices and perfumes as a token of their love and adoration of Jesus. Then Jesus’ body is placed in an unused tomb and sealed it with a large stone. Jesus had no place to call home when he was alive and had no tomb of his own in which to be laid down. He was laid in an unused tomb belong to somebody else, possibly Joseph himself. 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. But his burial is not the end of the story. Even his enemies, the religious authorities had remembered that Jesus said he would come back to life three days after his death! What would they do about that?~

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4. On Guard - Matthew 27:62-66

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, “After three days I will rise again.” So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.’ ‘Take a guard,’ Pilate answered. ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

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The day after Jesus was buried, the religious authorities go to the governor, Pilate, and ask for a guard to be placed on the tomb. They had of course remembered that Jesus had said he would rise three days after His death. They considered Jesus a deceiver and by default considered His disciples also as deceivers. They wanted to make sure the disciples didn’t steal the body and then say “Look everyone! The tomb is empty! Nobody in there! Jesus must be raised from the dead!” So to stop that happening, they request guards to be placed at the tomb. Pilate’s answer can also be translated as saying that your temple guards are already there but have an extra guard of Roman solders as well. With a sealed tomb, the Roman guards and Temple guards in place, Jesus’ body is safe from theft!

So it is Saturday. Jesus has died. His body is prepared according to Jewish burial customs. His body is buried and laying in the unused tomb of a stranger. What happens in this time of Saturday silence? We don’t know but we do know something extraordinary happens later on! ~

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Come back tomorrow for Day 31 of our series AGOG, as we continue to look together at that extraordinary man, Jesus Christ, through the Gospel accounts! We shall see together some of the events surrounding Jesus’ death! See you soon at Partakers!

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March 29, 2013

AGOG 29

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March 29

Jesus Crucified and Dead

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Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 29 of our adventure, looking together at the life of the most amazing person in human history - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Today we look briefly at Jesus crucified and dead.

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So far, we have seen that Jesus has been betrayed by a friend, Judas, who later killed himself. We know also that Jesus was denied three times by a close friend, Peter. Upon that third denial, a rooster crowed and Jesus gave Peter a look of love. Jesus of course, had predicted that Peter would deny him three times… Even when being denied by a close friend, Jesus loved that close friend.

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Jesus Crucified

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Jesus has also, we have seen, been condemned to die by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilatef was urged on by the crowds and in particular the religious authorities to pronounce a condemnation of crucifixion upon Jesus.

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John 19:17-27

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews." Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

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Jesus bearing his own cross was killed as a common criminal (John 19:17). We read that Pilate was responsible for fixing the sign “The King of the Jews” (John 19:21-22) despite the protests of the religious authorities who wanted it altered to “This man claimed to be The King of the Jews”. The clothes of condemned prisoners were given to soldiers on duty (John 19:23) at which point they gambled to see who would get them. Even when he himself was in agony, Jesus showed concern for his mother, committing her to the Apostle John (John 19:26-27).

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The crucifixion site was always chosen purposely to be outside the city walls because the Jewish Law forbade such action within the city walls. This was for sanitary reasons as crucified bodies were sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers-by. Sometimes, the subject was eaten while alive and still on the cross by wild beasts. Jesus face was beaten beyond recognition and the scourging reduced his flesh to something like raw hamburger mince. The whips used has pieces of glass and rocks stuck to the cord so as to inflict as much damage as possible. He had a crown of thorns pushed into his scalp.

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Jesus Dies

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That is the betrayal, let us now look at Jesus being condemned to be crucified by the Roman authorities. Having been condemned and then crucified, Jesus eventually dies.

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John 19:28-37

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."

In Jesus’ final moments he uttered “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 19:32-33) sped up the process of death because Jesus wouldn’t have been able to push himself up. The piercing of Jesus’ side and the flow of blood and water proved Jesus was really dead (John 19:34).

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Jesus - condemned, crucified and died. Where were the others disciples and other followers of Jesus? Peter had been interrogated about Jesus so was still in the city somewhere. The other disciples had fled and were probably in hiding, wondering why their Master had to die such a death – even though Jesus told them many times it would occur. There is Jesus on the cross – abandoned by all his friends and family. That is except for two people who were very close to Him. They were Mary the mother of Jesus, and also his close friend, John. Both witnessed Jesus’ agonising death. In a matter of sheer poignancy, John and Mary are asked by Jesus to take care of each other as family. As he has said throughout his ministry, Jesus’ mission would involve his death. But that is not the end! Oh no! Not by a long way!

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Come back tomorrow for Day 30 of our series AGOG, as we continue to look together at that extraordinary man, Jesus Christ, through the Gospel accounts! We shall see together some of the events surrounding Jesus’ death! See you soon at Partakers!

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