" Sending The Message Of God's Love And Forgiveness Throughout The Lands "
SEIZING THE MOMENT
A Glimpse into an Extremely Important Moment in the Life of Jacob
Written By:Mike Shreve ( Shreve Ministries }
" The Passover And The Resurrection "
Jesus and His disciples are preparing to observe the Jewish Passover.
Q- They have to travel from (Bethany to Jerusalem), they were traveling (just a few miles) and Why? (the feast had to be held within the city walls).
Jewish custom required that if a person had a room available, he must give it to any pilgrim who asked to stay in it, so that they’d have a place to celebrate the Passover. Jesus likely made previous arrangements with the owner of the house.
Since the Jewish day began at sundown (what we’d call the evening before and not at midnight), it was now Thursday night, the fifteenth of Nisan, what we now call Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday.
The Last Supper> 17-26
The Passover meal was originally eaten standing (Ex 12:11) to show the urgency, the haste of the Exodus from Egypt. But in Jesus’ day it had become customary to eat it in a reclining position (possibly a Roman or Greek influence?). Nowadays Jews observe Passover with tables & chairs.
The “bombshell”—“One of you will betray Me”
To betray a friend after sharing a meal with him was (and still is) regarded as the worst kind of treachery in the Middle East. No wonder Jesus timed His announcement during the meal.
Q- How do the disciples respond? (with self-distrust, could they betray Jesus? They had no idea the decision had already been made)
Q- Why would Judas want to betray Jesus? (to force Him to act…because he’d become disillusioned with Jesus’ lack of action…he no longer thought Jesus was the true Messiah…in the previous passage, when Mary poured the expensive perfume on Jesus, Judas began to realize that the Kingdom He’d been preaching was spiritual, not political.
Behind Judas’ motivation, a divine purpose was being carried out. Q- Is Judas a pawn in the sovereign plan of God? It seems as though the betrayal was predestined; yet Judas acts not like a programmed robot, but a free agent. He acts like most of the people of Jerusalem, disappointed with the path Jesus had chosen. We also know that he was greedy.
Q- How does Jesus indicate who will betray Him? (vs 20); in John 13 we see Jesus hands a piece of bread to Judas, indicating that he’s the one, and at that point Satan enters him. Judas wasn’t a puppet—he chose his path before the devil accompanied him. The disciples figured Judas was leaving to pay the bill for the meal.
Jesus doesn’t give the betrayer’s name; He simply says it’s one who is sharing the common bowl; possibly the salty water that the bitter herbs are dipped in; this would be appropriate because the salt water stands for the many tears shed during the Exodus.
“This is My Body” Q- how do Christians interpret this statement?
2) Symbolically, an object lesson;
3) Spiritual presence
Note: This is one of many poetic, figures of speech Jesus used; e.g. “I am the vine” “I am the door” “I am the Bread of Life”
Q- What is the “blood of the Covenant” (a new era, a new relationship in which we trust in Jesus as both our High Priest and the Sacrificial Lamb, replacing the old sacrificial system for sin.
The disciples made preparations for this meal. Q- How should we “prepare” to observe the Lord’s Supper? (reflection/self-examination, asking for forgiveness)
Judas wasn’t the only one to betray Jesus. In the next section, Peter denies even knowing Jesus. Both felt despair afterwards. Q- How do Peter and Judas differ? One sought forgiveness, the other committed suicide.
This should tell us as disciples of Christ, that we all are subject to fall, but the difference is in how we react or respond, when we like Peter seek forgiveness and restoration, we can as Peter did, walk therefore faithfully in our calling.
The Passover was more about preparation that anything and it was Jesus symbolic gesture that today has become so important to really research and understand the many truths displayed in this one biblical account.
But in all TRUTH it was the day of new beginings.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
“To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convinc- ing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3 (NASB)
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Some years ago when a missionary to India had finished preaching in an open-air meeting, a Mohammedan fellow approached him confrontationally and said: “We Moslems have something you Christians don’t have and you will have to admit it. When we take our pilgrimage to Mecca, we can at least find a coffin, but when you Christians go to Jerusalem, you find nothing but an empty grave.”
The missionary responded: “You are absolutely correct! And that is exactly the difference between your religion and our faith. Your founder, Mohammed is dead and his body is in that coffin in Mecca. But our Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven!”
THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
Few historical facts have such a preponderance of evidence as the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Though its authenticity is questioned by the same crowd that questions the account given in the Gospels, and for the same reason, the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (37 A.D.-103 A.D.), wrote in his “Antiquities of the Jews” the following:
“Now about this time there was a certain Jesus, a wise man, if indeed he must be called a man. He was in fact the worker of extraordinary things, the teacher of men who accept the truth with pleasure. And he drew to himself many of the Jews and the Greeks also. This man was the Messiah. And when Pilate, because the principle men among us denounced him, had punished him on the cross, those who had loved him from the beginning did not cease. In fact, he appeared to them on the third day alive once more, the divine prophets having already spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things concerning him. And even today the tribe of those who from him are called Christians has grown no less.” (Antiquities of the Jews xviii.3.3)
Consider the opinion of Rabbi Pinchas Lapide as regarding the resurrection of Jesus:
"When this scared, frightened band of the apostles, which was just about to throw away everything in order to flee in despair to Galilee; when these peasants, shepherds, and fisherman, who betrayed and denied their master and then failed him miserably, suddenly could be changed overnight into a confident mission society, convinced of salvation and able to work with much more success after Easter than before Easter, then no vision or hallucination is sufficient to explain such a revolutionary transformation."
Pinchas Lapide. “The Resurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective.” Pg125
Dr. Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, one of two men responsible for the rise of the Harvard Law School to its eminent position wrote the following:
“According to the laws of legal evidence used in the courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history.” (McDowell J: A Ready Defense. Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1993 Pg 217).
THE CERTIFICATION OF DEATH AND THE ENTOMBMENT OF JESUS
1. Jesus was pronounced “dead” by a Roman centurion
“Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.” Mark 15:44-45 (NKJV)
2. Jesus’ body was prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus and placed in the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.” John 19:38-42 (NKJV)
3. A large stone was rolled in front of the door and sealed the entrance to it.
“When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” Matthew 27:59-60 (NKJV)
4. Priests and Pharisees request Pilate to seal and set a guard over the tomb. A Roman guard was composed of a squad of sixteen soldiers.
“On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ’After three days I will rise.’ "Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ’He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.” Matthew 27:62-66 (NKJV)
5. The events that occurred early on the morning of the resurrection.
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you. So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” Matthew 28:1-8 (NKJV)
6. When Peter and John entered, finding the grave clothes “lying there” and the covering for the head “folded together in a place by itself.
“Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” John 20:3-7 (NKJV)
THE EYEWITNESSES TO HIS RESURRECTION (in biblical order)
1. Mary Magdalene
“Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, ‘Rabboni!’ (which is to say, Teacher).” John 20:14-16 (NKJV)
2. Peter, before the evening of the day of the resurrection, the details and circum-stances of which we have no details.
“So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Luke 24:33-34 (NKJV)
Also: “and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:5 (NKJV)
3. The two disciples, Cleopas and another, on the road to Emmaus
“After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.” Mark 16:12 (NKJV)
“Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” Luke 24:13-16 (NKJV)
4. Ten of the disciples (Thomas being absent)” and others” who are unnamed.
“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord….Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.” John 20:18-20; 24 (NKJV)
5. One week later, to all eleven disciples
“Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.” Mark 16:14 (NKJV)
“And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" John 20:26 (NKJV)
6. To several of the disciples at the Sea of Galilee
“After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.” John 21:1-2 (NKJV)
7. To the disciples and “more than 500 brethren” and James, the brother of Jesus “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.” I Corinthians 15:6 (NKJV). This probably occurred on an appointed mountain in Galilee referred to in Matthew 28:16-20.
8. “After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.” 1 Corinthians 15:7 (NKJV)
9. To the multitude who witnessed His ascension on the Mount of Olives
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.” Acts 1:9-12 (NKJV)
Now consider this! Except for the fact that the early disciples were eyewitnesses to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, would they suffer being burned alive and eaten by wild beasts when all they would have had to do was to deny their faith in Jesus Christ? They could not deny Him for they had seen the risen Lord with their own eyes!
Would they die for a cause they knew wasn’t true…one that they knew was built upon deception? No indeed! The early Christians were despised, tortured, beaten, burned alive, and ill-treated. Would they suffer so for a known lie? Of course not! All they had to do was deny Him! Refusing to deny their faith in their risen Lord, they went to their death praising Him and rejoicing in the glorious victory of His resurrection
The early church was so totally convinced of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus that they changed the day on which they worshiped the Lord. The early church was made up primarily of Jewish believers. They had a devout reverence for the law of Moses. The Jewish people had practiced Sabbath worship from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday for over fourteen hundred years.
Why would the early church change the day of worship to Sunday? Such a momentous decision as this could only take place if something truly awesome had happened on a Sunday. Something truly awesome did happen on “that first day of the week”. The Lord Jesus rose from the dead!
WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS?
The resurrection of Jesus is essential to the validity of the gospel message. Paul wrote: “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.” I Corinthians 15:17.
If you deny the truth of the resurrection of Jesus you are denying that He is the Messiah and you will die in your sins and face eternal damnation. Consider: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” I Thessalonians 4:14 (NKJV)
If you recognize the truth of the resurrection of Jesus, this becomes a powerful reason for you to put your trust in Him and accept Him as your Savior. The Bible tells us how.
1. Repent of your sins: Confess that you are a sinner and “have come short of the glory of God.” Turn from these and confess them to God. "Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm." Joel 2:13 (NKJV)
2. Ask God’s forgiveness: God is ready to forgive and will do so for those who accept Jesus as their Savior. "But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
3. Confess Him before men: "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV)
3. Start following him. "My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27 (NKJV)) "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
THE COMING OF JESUS:
Now today, as we prepare for the next greatest event, we have before us an awesome task. As this world is slipping deeper and deeper into darkness and sin, we as believers of Jesus Christ must ever shine the light and love of our savior the brightest.
The reason Jesus had so many follow Him to listen to His words, I believe was because of His great passion and love for those He came in contact with, my greatest fear for a great percentage of our church body is that we have become self centered and stagnant in our abilities to demonstrate the same passion and love of Christ.
I heard a great analogy in speaking with a Pastor/Friend earlier this week, he said; the church today is filled with one of three kinds of people whom we will relate to as emergency responders, that is people who will respond to surrounding needs that develop around them, some are minor and some are catastrophic, just as we, the body of Christ are standing, in many different environments and many different needs all over the world.
The first responder is the police:
They are the protectors, they are the ones that analyze the situation, try to figure out what happened and judge wether or not any laws have been broken or if this person was guilty of any crimes.
Second there are the spectators:
They are the ones that just sit back and look on, as others work just to see what is happening, determined not to get involved, they just want go and share it with others.
Thirdly, There are the paramedics:
The Paramedics don't care who the people are or what they have done, they don't care about what color of skin they have, where they are from, what their job is or how much money they have, their job is to save them. Their main concern is to find out what has caused them injury, bind up their wounds and make them well again....save their life.
This is the same passion that Jesus had and He demonstrated this as He journeyed to the cross that day, and freely gave His life for our sin, in innocense He died for the guilty, He paid a debt He did not owe, He suffered great pain that we could be healed, He died in poerty, that we could be blessed.
What kind of light should we be shining to this dark and sinful world today, is it not the same light that Jesus shined in true love and passion, someone once said to me, I am not Jesus and I will never be perfect like him; isn't that a cop out, no we are none perfect, but if I understand my bible correctly, as the disciples lived before us, and taught us in their writings which we study and treasure as God's divinely inspired word, we are to strive to be Christ like, or else would His coming to earth to demonstrate the true love of God, would it not be in vain, if we as the body of Christ do not embrace it.
My prayer I want to leave you with today is that we all examine ourselves, where we are today, and how we would respond if today we stood before Christ, the only perfect one, who is also able to judge our deeds, good or bad.
The one thing that inspired me to start The Last Call Ministries was this: One day I asked myself this one question, Lord, If I died and stood before you today, what kind of harvest do I have to offer you, if you opened the book to review how I had lived my life, would I have lived all of my life just for me, for what made me happy and all the material things I could aquire, everything just for me....I realized that day that I had no harvest, no fruit, my life up to that point was all about me.
Now, don't get me wrong, God does want us to be blessed and happy and He loves us so much that He gives us wonderful gifts and fulfills our hearts desires as His word says He will...
But I stand before you with one of the greatest truths I could ever share:
The harvest of blessings only comes after the labor of planting the field. First you have to give the sacrifice of the labor and planting, and then you will reap the harvest, so don't sit back and think that God just owes you something when your not willing to invest any part of yourself...
You will never reap your harvest if you are a judge or a spectator, if you want to reap a harvest become a paramedic and be a caregiver, and most of all strive to be the hands and feet of Christ on this earth, and reign as a king in heaven.
Message From The Desk Of :
TLCM President and Founder.