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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Do you ever struggle with waiting? Maybe God has promised you something–something amazing, and yet it does not happen as swiftly as you expected. Instead, God calls you to wait.

The Bible teaches this waiting. Psalm 27:14 exhorts us to “wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” Psalm 62:5 adds a prayer of the psalmist, “my soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”

But the waiting is hard. This passion weekend, I was reminded of the disciples waiting–they didn’t seem to believe that Jesus would rise from the dead from what we read in the gospels. They were, however, waiting–huddled together in the upper room, trying to make sense of the chaos and horror they witnessed–their teacher and beloved friend was tried, convicted and sentenced to death on the cross. They watched from afar off as He hung on the brutal torture rack of the Roman cross–dying a slow death of suffocation.

They had believed He was the Messiah–the one who would save them from the Roman oppression, and there He hung–a victim of that very oppression–innocen. What a horror it must have been for them! Their circumstances were over-whelming the promises they had been given. They couldn’t even hold them in focus. Fear ruled their hearts.

So it might be for you. God made a promise, but He is asking you to wait. The circumstances keep getting darker. But still He says, “wait.”

Fear not, Sunday’s coming and He will burst forth in glorious light from the darkness of the tomb–having conquered death and all that oppresses you. He is a risen Savior! He lives!

Wait a little longer . . .

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Maybe you wonder why it was necessary that Jesus come and die for the sins of the world. Why would the world need such a strange thing as a man tortured, beaten and hung on a cross to die?

As a starting point, consider the law of God as He gave it to Moses in Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments).

1. Have no Gods before Me (not even in your heart)
2. Make for yourself no idols
3. Do not take the name of the LORD in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
5. Honor your father and mother
6. Do not murder (not even in your heart)
7. Do not commit adultery (not even in your heart)
8. Do not steal
9. Do not bear false witness (lie)
10. Do not covet

How do you measure up? If 10 is too many, consider what Jesus later told his disciples, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

Whether you take the 10 or the 2, the bottom line is that God has a standard of holiness. That standard is given in His law. Keep it, and maintain fellowship with God; violate it in any point, and be forever separated from God by your sin.

This standard of holiness is not just for the Jew. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. There’s none righteous. Not one. Romans 3:11-18.

It doesn’t end there. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this, the judgment.” Hebrews 9:24. The payment or wages that a man receives for his sin is death. Romans 6:23

But God, in His mercy, has provided a sacrifice, an offering that would satisfy the requirement of the law. That sacrifice was His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

“God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

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

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“I am justified (made just as if I’d never sinned) through His (God’s) grace. Romans 3:24

“Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

I had a great need. I have a great God. He gave me a great gift in the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

 

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Baby Jesus, small and soft
born that star-filled night
for ages prophets had foretold
Light to pierce the night

Your heavenly home You left behind
put eternal things aside
to enter human time and space
and temporarily abide.

why would You,
Almighty King
Lord of all the Lords
come down to earth to be with us
so far below Your throne

the cross it is the centerpiece
instrument of pain
see where blood was flowing down
the lamb on it was slain

the living, it was needful
without blemish You were found
yet dying was the pinnacle
my sins they stained the ground

in dying You gave your life for me
propitiatory substitute
in rising You opened eternity
rendered the accuser mute

a baby born to humble means
lain in a manger bare
is only part the story told
look further if you dare

the only true and living God
the one they call “I AM”
He kept His promise in the child
He sent His Son, the Lamb

Copyright M.E. Mullin Bush

Holy_Night_Carlo_Maratta

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Read Mark 14:55-65
1. What were the Chief Priest and the counsel seeking with regard to Jesus?

2. What was the problem with the false witnesses who spoke against Jesus?

3. What do you learn from Deuteronomy 19:15 about the number of witnesses required under Mosaic law?

4. In Mark 14:60, the High Priest asked Jesus a question, record the question and Jesus’ response.

5. What was the question the High Priest asked Jesus in Mark 14:61? What was Jesus’ response?

6. What is the significance of Jesus’ reply? How did this help His accusers? How does this relate to Exodus 3:14?

7. What was the High Priest’s reaction to Jesus’ statement? Why did he react that way? What punishment did they want for Jesus? Why did they have to go to the Romans for that?

Read John 18:28-40; 19:1-16; Mark 15:1-22;
8. When Pilate asks the Jewish leaders what Jesus is accused of, how do they answer? What do you observe about that answer?

9. How does Jesus describe His kingdom?

10. In Mark 15:2, Pilate (Roman Ruler over Judea) questions Jesus as to who He is. Who does Jesus admit He is?

11. Pilate sees the motives of the Chief Priests in turning over Jesus to him. What is it? (Hint Mark 15:10)

12. What is Pilate’s verdict regarding Jesus in John 18:38?

13. Who do the people call for in John 18:40? What additional information do you learn about this “Barabbas” from Luke 23:16-25?

14. Describe the suffering of Jesus outlined in John 19:1-3 and Matthew 27:27-31.

Jesus trial

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Read Mark 14:32-42
1. Where did the disciples and Jesus go after supper?

2. What did Jesus want to do? Who did he take with Him?

3. What is Jesus’ prayer in Mark 14:36? What is the “cup” to which He is referring?

4. What were John, James & Peter doing while Jesus was praying?

5. Copy Jesus’ warning to them in Mark 14:38 here. How is this a warning to us as well?

6. What does Jesus tell the disciples is happening in Mark 14:41 when He returns to them the 3rd time?

Read Luke 22:39-46
7. According to Luke 22:44, what happened to Jesus while He was praying?

8. Who comes to strengthen Jesus according to Luke 22:43?

Read John 18:1-11
9. How did Judas know where to find Jesus?

10. What happened to the troops when Jesus identified Himself?

11. What does Jesus do in John 18:8?

Read Matthew 26:14-56
12. What do you learn about the disciple Judas from Matthew 26:14-16?

13. Matthew 26:48, what was the sign Judas would use to identify Jesus?

14. How does Judas address Jesus? What does this name mean?

15. How does Jesus address Judas? Why is that important?

16. Looking back at the betrayal, what does Peter say about it in Acts 1:16-20?

17. What happened in Matthew 26:51? What is Jesus’ response?

18. What does John 18:11 record of Jesus’ statements after Peter cuts of Malchus’ ear?

19. What did the disciples do when Jesus was arrested? Why is that important? How does that compare to their conduct in Acts 2?

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Passover (Pesach) is one of three major feasts in the Jewish calendar. The first Passover occurred while the Jews were still slaves in Egypt.

Beginning in Exodus 12:3 and following, God instructs the people, “on the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. . . . Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire-its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’S Passover.”

In Exodus 12:12 and following, God gives the reason for the Passover, “for I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy all mention the Passover as do many books of the history of the Jews.

What does this have to do with Jesus?

  • Jesus was a Jew.
  • Jesus was celebrating Passover with his disciples on the night he was betrayed
  • By the blood of the lamb being smeared on the lintel and doorposts of the houses of the Jews, the judgment of God passed over them on that first Passover in Egypt. Similarly, by the blood of Jesus, the wrath of God passes over those who believe Jesus died for their sins.
  • Jesus converted the symbols of Passover (cup of redemption) and the unleavened bread into symbols of the new covenant – what we know as communion.

Throughout Jewish history, the Passover celebration was pointing forward – to the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world and cause the wrath of God to pass over the children of God.

Who are these who have been passed over? Those who believe that Christ is the Son of God and that His death was a substitutionary death – Jesus because the substitute sacrifice – the lamb to be slain.

It’s Your Blood that cleanses me
It’s Your Blood that gives me life
It’s Your Blood that took my place
In redeeming sacrifice, Washes me,
Whiter than the snow, than the snow
My Jesus, God’s precious sacrifice.

1031952-file_passionmovie_oncross2

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Some biblical concepts are easier to understand than others. Redemption may be one of the easier ones. To redeem something means to buy it back.

Imagine you are short on funds for your rent payment. The landlord is threatening to evict you if you don’t pay by the close of business. How do you get money quick? You might consider pawning your Fender guitar – not because you want to sell it, but because it has value and the pawn shop owner might give you enough cash to make your rent. When you get paid at the end of the week, you might head back to the pawn shop to redeem – or buy back – your guitar.

  • What does this have to do with Jesus?
  • Who is being redeemed?
  • From what?
  • How?

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the redeemer. (See Galatians 3:13; Titus 2:14, Hebrews 9:12)

We are the redeemed – some of us. The redemption is not limited to any particular group of people. The redeemed come from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Revelation 5:9)

The redemption Jesus Christ offers is redemption from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), from every lawless deed (Titus 2:14) and from  power of the grave (Psalm 49:15)

It is by Jesus’ own blood that He redeemed us, purchased us back from the ruler of this world (Satan). (See Hebrews 9:12, Revelations 5:9)

The best news is that this redemption Christ has accomplished for me – for you – is eternal (it has no end).

pieces of silver

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