BIBLE READING: ACTS 1
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence………..
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The ministry of the Holy Ghost is beyond essential to the Christian. Here, Jesus is getting ready to ascend back into glory. Imagine how excited Jesus must have been to finally go home, and to reunite with God the Father. The sin Jesus had been surrounded with, the abuse and rejection He had endured, and the constant awareness that He was heading to bear our sins on the cross was finally going home. Before Jesus goes, He gives instruction to His disciples about the Holy Ghost.
THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT
“The promise of the Father.” “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Before Jesus leaves, He gives the promise that the Holy Ghost would come and indwell those who place their faith and trust in Jesus. Jesus literally calls the Holy Spirit “the promise of the Father”. The Holy Spirit is literally proof of the promise that Jesus is coming back for us. He is the down payment of heaven.
THE PRIORITY OF THE SPIRIT
Jesus “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait”. As Jesus was going to send the disciples out to change the world, He tells them not to head out and start till the Holy Ghost comes upon them. Why is that? Because it is a waste of time to try to do anything without the help and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. If these disciples were going to accomplish something great for God, they must have the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The same goes for me and you.
THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT
“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” That power is what we need. Jesus did not want the disciples to begin their ministry till they had that power. If you are saved, then the Holy Ghost lives inside of you. If the Holy Ghost is inside of you, you have been given miraculous power through Christ. That power is to be used for us to be witnesses, not just to those around us, but throughout the world. Only through God‘s power can a task that great be accomplished. Only through God‘s power can any purpose be accomplished. I encourage you to utilize that power in everything that you face today.
BIBLE READING: MARK 16
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
This is an exciting portion of scripture to Those of us that have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. this is exactly why we have placed our faith and trust in Jesus. If Jesus can raise Himself from the dead, then He can do anything. If Jesus was still in the grave, then there would not be a lot for us to have Hope in. When you look closely at what the angel said while he was near the grave that Jesus had already left, you see specifically what all our excitement is about
JESUS IS ALIVE
“He is risen; He is not here.” If Jesus is not dead, that means He is alive. We do not serve a dead Saint, we serve a living Savior. If Jesus is alive, and I am in Jesus, that means I am alive forever more. If Jesus is eternal, then my soul is eternal. if Jesus was not alive, how in the world would I get to heaven? Everything I believe, trust, and hope for is based upon the fact that Jesus was not, and is not in that grave.
JESUS IS ALMIGHTY
“Behold the place where they laid Him.” This passage lets us know that if Jesus has the power to defeat death, then Jesus has the power to do anything. The angel was telling them to look at the place where Jesus had been laid, and he wanted them to see that Jesus was no longer there. That is symbolic for us to see that what man did to Jesus, Jesus could overcome it. That means whatever man can do to us, Jesus can overcome it. “Greater is He that is in me then he that is in the world.” It does not matter “what” you and I face, and it does not matter “who” you and I face, Jesus is greater. He is Almighty!
JESUS IS AVAILABLE
“Go your way, tell His disciples…..: there shall ye see Him”. The fact that Jesus is not in that grave means to me that He is available to me anytime I need him. He is available to listen, He is available to communicate, He is available to encourage, He is available to strengthen, and He is available to forgive. Jesus is available to the sinner, and he is available to the saint. If Jesus was in the grave, we could not have access to him. A dead man could not help us do anything. But He is alive, and He is Almighty, and He is also available to us. That is why the angel said, “Be not affrighted”. When Jesus is your savior, there’s nothing to fear.
BIBLE READING: MARK 15
43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
“Joseph of Arimathaea” is mentioned in all four gospels. We are given little tidbits of information at each mention. Here we are told that he was honorable, so we can assume he was a “GOOD” man. He was also an adviser to the Sanhedrin, so we can assume he was a “GIFTED” man. Notice what we are told in Matthew:
* Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
So we can assume he was a “GODLY” man. What I am most interested in, though, is the amazing, precious responsibility he performed in caring for the body of Jesus. Can you just stop for a second today and think what that would have been like to bear the very body of Jesus Christ. The Bible says he “craved” it, he carried it, He covered it, and he concealed it in the tomb. What great care he took of the body of Jesus. Not just that, did you know that he actually built the tomb of Jesus. Notice:
* Matthew 27:60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
Now some people believe that this was a tomb that he had made for himself, that he voluntarily gave to use for the body of Jesus. Notice the phrase “in his own new tomb”. Some believe that this was a tomb that he actually went to the work chiseling, and grinding out of a rock just for Jesus. We do know that this tomb had never been used for anyone else before. I personally believe that this was a tomb that Joseph had built for himself and volunteered it to use for Jesus because as best I can tell, Jesus borrowed everything while he was here on earth, including His own grave. After all, He would only need it for three days.
While unnoticed by most people that day at the crucifixion, Joseph had a very important job. Often Jesus uses the most unexpected people to do the most unordinary things. It wasn’t one of Jesus’ inner circle disciples, and it wasn’t even a member of his own family, but just a faithful disciple that had this privilege. Just a good, Godly man that spent his own money, gave his own time, and even his own grave to honor Jesus.
* Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
BIBLE READING: MARK 14
10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.
18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.
19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?
20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.
21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely.
45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.
46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him.
This is a discouraging chapter in many ways. Jesus is surprisingly betrayed by some of the men that He was closest to. Jesus was DELIVERED by Judas to the scribes, and Jesus was DENIED by Peter during His suffering. No wonder the Bible says to “have no confidence in the flesh”.
How convicting it must have been for Judas to be sitting with Jesus and his fellow inner circle of disciples and to hear Jesus say, “One of you which eateth with me shall betray me”. Could you imagine as Judas quietly swallows and sheepishly clears his throat. He knew full well that he and Jesus were the only ones who knew who Jesus was speaking of. Then comes the dagger. Jesus had allowed Judas to work this whole plan without saying anything to Judas, not even embarrassing Judas in front of the others by telling them. But Jesus did have something to say. Here it is: “woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born”. Wow! A dagger right in the heart of Judas.
Let me ask you a question. Could you imagine how many times, while Judas has been burning in hell, he has replayed that dinner in his mind? Judas has been burning in hell now, give or take, about one thousand, nine hundred, and eighty six years. That is about 724,890 days without sleep, water, light, food, relief, or Jesus. How many times has he thought about it? How many times has he longed to go back and talk some sense into himself? He was so close to Jesus, and yet now he could not be further away. How many times I wonder, just today, has he wished that he had never been born. “Woe to that man”. His last contact with Jesus was a betraying kiss on the cheek. Oh how he must wish to go back. I wonder how often in these hundreds of years in hell has Judas called out for Jesus, but he never receives an answer, and he never will.
Do you know that your saved today? Maybe you’re in church, maybe you are religious, maybe you’ve been “close” to Jesus for most of your life, but do you know Jesus. Judas lived with Jesus, and yet now lives in hell. If you are reading this, it is too late for Judas, but not for you.
BIBLE READING: MARK 13
7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
“SUCH THINGS MUST NEEDS BE”
It sure can be discouraging when you consider what is going on in our world. The news is full of “wars and rumors of wars”. Nations are fighting with each other all over the globe. Even America has numerous nations that hate us and wish we were wiped off the face of the earth. It even seems common now to hear about earthquakes in different continents, many of which cause damage and even loss of life. Jesus did not say “if” you hear of these things, He said “when ye shall hear”. Jesus said that these things literally need to happen. It is part of the plan. I admit that this is confusing to me in some areas because if all this is going to happen, and needs to happen, why should we keep praying that it doesn’t and fight to try to keep it from happening?
God says “be ye not troubled”. This word “troubled” means frightened. It means that these things should not surprise us when they happen, and we should not be afraid when they are happening. Why is that? Because Jesus said not to be. Why should I pray for America even though things will get worse? Because Jesus said to. Why should I pray for the peace of Israel even though peace will not come till Jesus rules? Because Jesus said to. Why should I pray “the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers” when it seems it is harder to get them? Because Jesus said to. We do not pray because it makes sense, we pray because Jesus said to.
Jesus said these events would be the beginning of sorrows. This is a word meaning travail, like the pain a mother goes through giving birth. What happens after a mother goes through the pain of child birth? Indescribable joy of the new birth of a precious child after the “travail” of labor. What will happen after the pain and “travail” of these events of the end times? Indescribable joy in the presence of God in our heavenly home. There is always pain before new life.
We keep working and praying because we do not need to be troubled by the circumstances of this world, but we want to reach every single person possible. We cannot change some things, but we can reach some people. We should keep doing everything we can because ”such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.” It is not over yet.
BIBLE READING: MARK 12
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Would you give to the church differently at offering time if Jesus Himself was sitting next to you in person watching exactly how much you put in? Jesus was doing just that here. We might be a little more sacrificial and generous in our giving. Of course, we know that Jesus does see exactly how much we give. It is interesting to me that Jesus was teaching a lesson here only to His disciples. That is who Jesus was teaching here.
Jesus decides to utilize what He calls a “poor widow” to teach the seed planters of His future church a spiritual lesson. We all have lessons to learn, don’t we? The Bible says that God loves to use the simple to confound the wise. A widow that had nothing, had given more than those that had everything. While the world loves to teach us how to “make” money, Jesus loves to teach us how to “give” money.
Jesus also teaches the disciples that the amount given isn’t important, it is the amount sacrificed that is. Some can give a large amount without really sacrificing much, while some can give a little and sacrifice everything just like this widow. How much have you sacrificed lately?
While there are so many other things in these verses, let me close with this. Jesus also taught the disciples that it is not just about money, it is about our life. Jesus said, “she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” That word “living”, in this verse, in the Greek means a person’s “life”. Jesus said she not only gave all she had, she gave all of herself. If you are like me, being one of Jesus’ disciples, I have much to learn from this widow. She may not be as “poor” as we think.