Archive for March 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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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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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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AGOG 28

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March 28

Jesus Betrayed, Denied and Condemned

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Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 28 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 being betrayed and denied by two of his closest friends and then condemned by both the religious and political authorities.

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For the 3 years of His public ministry, Jesus has preached the good news of God’s salvation to reconcile people back into relationship with Almighty God. He has healed the sick, raised the dead, and with a little food has fed thousands of people! He has built strong relationships with his disciples. He has proclaimed that His mission will be fulfilled through his death and being raised back to life. After his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is arrested and betrayed (Matthew 26:36-56). From there Jesus appears before various religious authorities. During this time, Jesus is recorded as saying very little and often with oblique answers to their questioning. This prompts his accusers to mock, blindfold insult and beat him. When the accusers couldn’t find any witnesses to speak against Jesus, they confronted him with false witnesses. When the High Priest asked Jesus directly “Are you the Christ?” Jesus says “I am!” At which the priest reacts with anger and accuses Jesus of blasphemy. During this time, Jesus also suffers the indignation of being denied by Peter, one of his leading disciples. From there Jesus is condemned, and sent to the Roman authorities. With all these events we look briefly together at Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and then his appearance before the Roman authorities.

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Jesus Betrayed

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. and Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

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Jews were expected to remove all yeast from their houses (Exodus12:15) as a reminder that their ancestors left Egypt in a hurry and had to eat bread without yeast. Jesus had warned his disciples about the “yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). In other words, the religious leaders had cleansed their houses but not their hearts. The last thing the religious leaders wanted was a messianic uprising during Passover (Luke 19:11).

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Judas was motivated and energized by satan (John 13:2, 27) and was never a true believer because his sins had never been cleansed by the Lord (John 13:10-11). Therefore Judas had never believed or received eternal life (John 6:64-71). However, Judas had been given authority and had been preaching the same message. This proves how close a person can come to the kingdom of God and still be lost (Matthew 7:21-29). Judas could have chosen not to betray Jesus but his heart was won over by the short term benefits offered by the finance given to him to betray Jesus.

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Jesus Condemned

That is the betrayal, let us now look at Jesus being condemned to be crucified by the Roman authorities.

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John 19:1-16

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"

Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.

"Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.

But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"

"Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.

"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

Pilate was the Roman Governor of Judea. It was he that made the decision and gave the order for Jesus to be crucified. Pilate gave in and permitted the flogging and mockery in the hope of shaming Jesus’ accusers (John 19:1-3). Pilate affirmed Jesus’ innocence after the scourging (John 19:4). Jesus’ refusal to answer him, stings 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 not reach beyond earth (John 19:11).

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Jesus knew that his work of bringing people back to God in a loving relationship did not rest on the actions of a mere Roman governor. Overall, we see that Pilate was more concerned with his own position than he was for justice. Jesus is publicly rejected by the masses and by the religious authorities who proclaim publicly that Caesar is their only King, while forgetting that in reality, God is their King! Jesus is led away to die on his cross as a common criminal.

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Come back tomorrow for Day 29 of our series AGOG, as we continue to look together at that extraordinary man, Jesus Christ, through the Gospel accounts! We shall see together Jesus final moments before He goes to his crucifixion! See you soon at Partakers!

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AGOG 27

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March 27

Jesus Final Prayers 2

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Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 27 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 prays for all future disciples.

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John 17:20-26

“‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

‘Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.’

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Jesus has prayed for Himself and for his disciples. Now Jesus prays for all those who have ever believed and also those who will become His followers as the fruit and seed of the disciples. As such, it brings all Christian disciples into intimacy with Jesus and a part of a dynamic relationship with Him. Jesus doesn’t just pray for the rich of faith but also for those who are weak of faith. Jesus’ prayer encompasses all believers, not just some – including the strong with the weak.

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What does Jesus pray for all believers? Firstly Jesus prays for unity. That is unity on various levels. Firstly it is unity on the invisible, supernatural level (John 17:21-22). The lives of all Christian disciples are inextricably linked to each other, through the love and obedience of God the Son and God the Father through God the Holy Spirit who lives within all believers.

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Christian disciples are united together because Jesus imparts upon them, the glory given to Him by God the Father (John 17:22). This unity is also physical, in so much as through a visible unity, people will come to know Jesus personally and take up the offer of reconciliation with God (John 17:21, 23). This unity is also physically seen, through the telling of the Gospel - a message of reconciliation between God and humanity (John 17:20). That is why different churches must be seen to work together – a visible sign of unity reflecting the invisible unity. Jesus’ prayer in verse 23 “bought to complete unity” seems to signify that this visible unity will be a process. Therefore all believers must be seeking to bring this unity forward.

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Then Jesus prays that all believers will stay in Him and in God. When believers are united with God then we can also be united with each other. All believers are in God – Father, Son and Spirit. They are also in us – Father, Son and Spirit. All believers are branches of the same vine – Jesus. Remember recently when we talked about that? When those who are not believers see Jesus’ modern disciples loving others sacrificially, then unity is seen and it is an effective witness to the reality of reconciliation with God, and a vibrant living relationship with Him. And this relationship is borne of God’s love! The same love which God the Father has for God the Son! WOW!

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As Jesus closes his prayers, He prays that the mission He has been on will be concluded. Jesus knows he is going to be betrayed, adjudged guilty by both the religious and secular authorities. Jesus knows he is going to be denied by one of his disciples before being condemned to die on a Roman cross. But that want be the end of the story. Jesus has been saying previously that God the Father will raise Him back to life again after death! Jesus wants all believers to see His glory, the glory He had at the beginning and the glory which he wanted his disciples to see! All believers and modern day disciples of Jesus are disciples and believers because of Jesus who has made known and manifest the love of God. There are those who do not know God the Father! Jesus is also praying for them, that they will see believers in action, showing God by loving all generously. Those who are strong are to support those who are weak and by doing so, manifest the love of God.

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Come back tomorrow for Day 28 of our series AGOG, as we continue to look together at that extraordinary man, Jesus Christ, through the Gospel accounts! We shall see together Jesus final moments before He goes to his crucifixion!

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AGOG 26

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March 26

Jesus Final Prayers 1

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Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 26 of our adventure, looking together at the life of the most amazing person in human history - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Today we start looking briefly at Jesus final prayers.

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John 17:1-19

After saying this, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time is here. Give your Son glory so that your Son can give you glory. After all, you’ve given him authority over all humanity so that he can give eternal life to all those you gave to him. This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. On earth I have given you glory by finishing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me glory in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world existed. “I made your name known to the people you gave me. They are from this world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. They did what you told them. Now they know that everything you gave me comes from you, because I gave them the message that you gave me. They have accepted this message, and they know for sure that I came from you. They have believed that you sent me. “I pray for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours. Everything I have is yours, and everything you have is mine. I have been given glory by the people you have given me. I won’t be in the world much longer, but they are in the world, and I’m coming back to you. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name, the name that you gave me, so that their unity may be like ours. While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name that you gave me. I watched over them, and none of them, except one person, became lost. So Scripture came true. “But now, Father, I’m coming back to you. I say these things while I’m still in the world so that they will have the same joy that I have. I have given them your message. But the world has hated them because they don’t belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world but to protect them from the evil one. They don’t belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. “Use the truth to make them holy. Your words are truth. I have sent them into the world the same way you sent me into the world. I’m dedicating myself to this holy work I’m doing for them so that they, too, will use the truth to be holy.

~

Jesus prays for Himself~

Jesus starts off by praying for Himself. Central to this part of His prayer is glorification. That is the glorification of Himself in order that God the Father who sent Him will be glorified. In effect, Jesus is saying “Father, may people see me for who I truly am, your Son. And may they also through Me, see Your true nature Father!” Praying as He does, just before He knowingly goes to His death on the cross, shows the importance of the cross. For it is through the cross alone. Both God the Father and Jesus will be glorified.

Jesus’ death on the cross reveals a God of love, faithfulness and forgiveness. John 17:4 reveals that it was this purpose that He came, in order to complete the work given. Jesus’ entire earthly life has been one to show divine love – to all people of every age and class. All Jesus’ works and words were completed without even a hint of hypocrisy. His entire life was driven by the desire to see sinful people turn to God for reconciliation and forgiveness. Jesus confidently prays that having laid aside His glory by taking on human form, He will return to God’s right hand, having achieved the work of redemption through the cross.

~

Jesus prays for His Disciples~

Now Jesus turns to pray for His disciples. Note how He describes them: they were chosen by God Himself, seen God in Jesus and have received God’s words and obeyed them. Jesus prays that the disciples would be in the safe possession of both the Father and the Son. Despite misunderstanding frequently what Jesus was talking about, the disciples still managed to grasp that Jesus had come from God. Having taught that the disciples will endure persecution and suffering because they are His followers, Jesus prays for their safety.~

They will be safe, not because of their own cunning, character or conduct. They will be safe because of God’s care and protection. As the disciples were God’s possession, He will ensure that they are watched over and protected. This security is also borne from glorifying God and being witnesses for Him. By remaining loyal and obedient to Jesus, obedient to His teachings and telling others about Him, God’s name & nature will therefore protect the disciples. Jesus also prays that they may be filled with joy and be dedicated wholly and solely to Him. The disciples now have a mission and purpose to fulfil – to tell others about this Jesus. Remember they will not be left alone but have the Holy Spirit to counsel and clarify with them.

~

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