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Easter Part 7

Jesus meets people today

As we have seen, the good news is that Jesus is still living. The remainder of the four Gospels and the beginning of the book of Acts tell us a little more of what Jesus did before He ascended into the heavens. But Jesus still meets with people at the present time. How does He do this?

Jesus walks with us, where ever 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 proclaim 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 or Lord’s Supper, with the bread and wine, which symbolise His flesh and blood as an act of remembrance of what He did for humanity.

But that is not the end, because Jesus has promised that He is coming again. Not as a baby next time, but as an all conquering Son of God in judgment to gather those who follow Him. Are you ready? If you want to follow this Jesus, come on over Here is how… You won’t regret it if you do!

Becoming a Christian

If you want to turn to God there is no need for delay. He is ready and willing to take you as his own – right now. You only have to ask him to forgive you and he will! Being a Christian is a partnership between God and yourself. Deciding to change course in mid-life, is what is called conversion, being born again, or deciding to be a Christian. When you place your faith in Jesus, becoming utterly dependent upon Him, you turn to God.

Once you have made that decision, you leave behind your rebellion against Him. As you live each day, becoming more involved with Jesus day by day, you will find yourself changing. You stop doing things which separated you from him and find yourself doing things that develop your relationship with him.

How do you develop this relationship?

Until you enter into that relationship, sin, or that which alienates you from God, controls your rebellion against him in your attitudes and your activities. You develop this relationship by allowing God to take control of your life, as He asks you to accept His management and guidance of your life.

God’s point of view and His strength will become your point of view and your source of strength. You turn your mind, will and heart to Him for all you do.
If you want to make that decisive step and become a Christian there are three simple steps to take.

  • Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and his ways and turn away from those attitudes.
  • Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus as your Saviour from the consequences of the anger of God towards you and your tendency to sin. Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing him for who he is and what he has done.
  • Lastly, accept the Holy Spirit of God into your life as the major motivating force for what you do. Once sin has been confessed, Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour and the Holy Spirit has entered your life, then you are a Christian.

All these things happen together in a flash as you turn to God. Now you are ready to grow in grace and knowledge of our Jesus. Welcome to the family of God! God has chosen you. Jesus has paid for you and has put his mark within you through his Spirit (Ephesians 1:1-13).

Download the Podcast to hear about the resurrected Jesus meeting people today - including you!

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Easter Part 6

Significance and consequences of Jesus' Resurrection

Significance 1
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) and certainly within Paul-ine theology. But what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

That was the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church about the Jesus having been raised from the dead – physically!

Significance 2
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). The resurrection, 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).

Significance 3
Finally, the resurrection of Jesus’ physical body is a sure victory over satan, sin and death. All three are conquered and squashed. Satan is a defeated creature and will do anything to drag people into defeat with him. The power of sin is conquered, and sin’s grip is overcome if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Finally, as I said earlier, death has been beaten, because those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ will live forever with him – death is not the end but a beginning.

If Jesus Christ did not physically rise from the dead then as Paul states in

“Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he didn’t raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. For if the dead aren’t raised, neither has Christ been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all people most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

 

Or let me put it in my own words - if Jesus Christ did not physically rise from the dead, we as Christians are the product of the greatest delusional lie and are the most foolish of all people.

 

Come back tomorrow to hear another consequence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ - Jesus meets people today!  Download the Podcast to learn some details of these Scriptures concerning Jesus.

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Easter Part 5

Dealing with doubts concerning the resurrection

Yet people still doubt. Let us say Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Surely the authorities, both Jewish and Roman, would have produced his dead body in order to quench this new movement! But they didn’t, and the reason they didn’t is because there was no body to produce! Would the disciples have really risked death for telling and maintaining a lie about the risen Jesus? They were beaten, confused, defeated and dispersed men until they saw Jesus truly did rise from the dead. After seeing Him, they were transformed and victorious people.

 

I have had people say to me that somebody (even the disciples) stole the body. Hardly likely, and if that had occurred, for what reason? How would they have got past the Roman Guard and moved the stone a great distance from the tomb? This very reason is what the Jewish authorities tried to perpetuate by way of a bribe:

“Now while the disciples of Jesus were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers, saying, “Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry.” So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.” (Matthew 28:11-15)

 

Then we have the swoon theory. 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”.

Or perhaps, they all went to the wrong tomb. That’s it – they went to the wrong tomb. Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done. Besides, the gospel accounts tell us that people were waiting outside the tomb where Jesus was buried! Surely Joseph would know which tomb Jesus was buried in, seeing as Joseph owned it!

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. This conjecture is a lie of satan because he knows the significance of Jesus having risen physically from the dead.

Come back tomorrow to hear more about the significance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Download the Podcast to learn some details of these Scriptures concerning Jesus.

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Easter Part 4: Jesus is Alive!

1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”’ 8 Then they remembered his words.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.(Luke 24:1-12)

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

The tomb is empty
• 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)
• The 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)
• Two men on the Emmaus Road 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. Look at them and study them. Notice 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. Or take the multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.

This shows that Jesus’ resurrection was physical in nature! Some people say Jesus’ resurrection was spiritual in nature but not physical. But the amount of people that saw Him physically afterwards dispels that particular myth. What about the current tangible evidence - the survival and inordinate growth and impact of the early church and that the church is still growing 2000 years later. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus, would people really have risked persecution and death for knowing a lie? One or two people maybe, but not hundreds. Certainly not thousands!

Come back tomorrow where we continue looking at Jesus' resurrection.

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Easter Part 3: Why did Jesus go to the Cross?

All human beings, in their natural state, are born sinners and have rebelled against God (Romans 3:23). However, because of Jesus’ death on the cross God offers forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), Peace (Romans 5:1) and reconciliation with Himself, so that we are no longer His enemies (2 Corinthians 5:19). Through the cross of Jesus Christ, and only through the cross, we are made just before God (Romans 3:24-26), it cleanses us from sin (1 John 1:7) and makes us right before Almighty God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Because of the Cross of Jesus Christ, we can have direct access to God (Ephesians 2:18) and Jesus Christ intercedes for us (Hebrews 2:17-18). Because of Jesus Christ’s death on a Roman cross, all those who follow Him have freedom from the power of slavery to sin (Galatians 5:1) and freedom from the power of the devil (Hebrews 2:14). None of the above things are true if a person does not follow Jesus.

The cross of Jesus Christ is amazing love in action and is ignored at great peril. Let us go forward in hope and faith, choosing deliberately not to boast in anything else, save only of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The wisdom of God as exhibited on and in the Cross of Jesus Christ, is foolishness but only to those who don’t accept it.

Come and listen to the podcast to hear more about this as we discover:

  • There is a problem!
  • There is a solution!
  • Victory achieved!
  • What should our response be to the cross of Jesus Christ?

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