BIBLE READING: Luke 24
1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
“Now upon the first day of the week”
What a powerful passage! This is what makes all the difference in religions, belief systems, and spiritual worship. The author and object of our faith, Jesus Christ the Son of God, rose from the dead. He was laid in a tomb, but He did not stay there. Death could not keep Him down. Because of that, our faith is alive, because our God is alive. He could not save us if He could not have saved Himself. But He did. Amen!
This took place on the first day of the week. It was Sunday morning. That is why we worship in God’s house on Sunday’s. Every week we celebrate and relive the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday we illustrate to our communities that Jesus is alive. I have faith every Sunday morning that Jesus can resurrect His conviction in the hearts of listeners. Every Sunday I believe that Jesus can resurrect His power upon the forces of evil. Every Sunday we have faith that Jesus can resurrect our attitudes, our failures, and our shortcomings. Sunday is “resurrection day”. We all need weekly, daily, and hourly resurrections. We would have no hope in this life, but if Jesus could resurrect Himself out of death, He can resurrect value out of my failures.
We all need to see Sundays differently. We need to be in God’s house, not out of obligation, but out of celebration. Because of His resurrection in Luke 24, we can have resurrection today. God can still roll stones away. God can still loose us from grave clothes. God can still overcome death. “Greater is He that is in me then he that is in the world”. See you on Sunday!
BIBLE READING: Luke 23
2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
Can you imagine that Jesus would be accused of this? Chapter 22 tells us who the individuals were that were accusing Jesus of this: “the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes“. These were the individuals that were actually providing the nation, and yet they accused Jesus of that. It reminds me of a passage in the book of Isaiah.
* Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
It is amazing to me that even in our day in time, that Christianity is vilified as something that hurts our country. Judeo Christian ethics are made fun of, sarcastically ridiculed, and the object of many jokes. It is amazing to me that the Vice President of our country can be ridiculed because he will not eat a meal alone with any woman except his wife. How does that hurt our country? And yet politicians, Hollywood, and sports figures can live a lewd and lascivious lifestyle and they are glorified. In fact, they are given some TV show to flaunt it.
We are watching the Bible come to life. America is beginning to completely lose sight of what is right, and what is wrong. The only hope is for God’s people to stand up and be God’s people. We are to be salt, and light in this world. I encourage you today, let’s represent Christ as we live today. We are not perverting a nation we are praying for our nation.
BIBLE READING: Luke 22
1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
“Then entered Satan into Judas”
Let me start by saying that I believe that a Christian can never be demon possessed. I have many verses to back that up. I certainly believe that we can be demon oppressed but not demon possessed. Satan can certainly come against us, tempt us, and reek havoc against us, but he cannot possess us.
We believe that Judas was never truly a believer. The Bible teaches this. Judas is an individual that was as close to Jesus as you could get, and yet he never truly “received” Christ. There are many people in churches like that. They have been around the things of God for years, and heard about Christ, but they’ve never really trusted in Christ. In verse three of this passage, we are told that Satan entered into Judas. We know the rest of the story.
I just wanted to share a brief warning with you today. Satan will always enter where he is allowed. If Satan is given an opening, he will take over. While I believe that if we are saved Satan cannot possess our soul, I do believe that if we allow it, Satan can take over a marriage. Satan can take over a relationship. Satan can take over an attitude. In fact, while Satan cannot take over a christian, I have watched Satan take over churches. Satan entered in, because Judas allowed him to.
Please be aware today that Satan is trying to enter anywhere he can. Satan wants to ruin anything in your life. He is a liar and the father of it. If you and I do not constantly guard ourselves, our attitudes, our relationships, and even our marriages, Satan will come in. And we know the rest of the story!
Luk 21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
Luk 21:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
Luk 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Luk 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
Luk 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Luke records in chapter 21 what was also recorded by the Gospels of Matthew in chapters 24 and 25, and Mark chapter 13 where Jesus teaches about end times prophecy; dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem and Christ’s Second coming. To be true to the passage we need to remember that Jesus was a Jew, speaking to the Jewish people what would happen to the Jewish nation. Yet it also has some application to Christian believers through the church age. The emphasis Jesus speaks about is on Jerusalem, the Jews, and the Temple. This is not discussing the rapture of the church, instead it discusses from the Jewish perspective what will be the signs of Christ’s Coming. Remember the rapture will occur with no given sign to forewarn us . The rapture of the Church is discussed in 1 Cor 15:51-58 and 1 Thes 4:13-18; but the Jews required and requested “a sign” (1 Cor 1:22) and Jesus describes these signs.
Jesus gives them the lesson of the fig tree ( Luke 21:29-33). Mankind can observe the fig tree (and all trees vs 21:29) and watch it’s leaves or buds shoot forth and they will know that summer is nigh. So likewise when they see these things: the Temple surrounded and destroyed, the Jews fall by the sword or led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem controlled by the Gentile nations until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. He then states “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and waves roaring” – which describes a world in chaos. (vs 25) ripe for the coming of the Antichrist.
When these things occur, men’s hearts will fail them for fear (vs 26). Thank God we will not have to face the Tribulation period. But to the nation of Israel he states they are : “To look after those things” the events that have unfolded on the earth for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Then will they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (No false Christ has ever come into the world like Jesus will come in his glory.)
Jesus cautions the Jews to take heed to yourselves, stop and consider, don’t be distracted with the cares of this life on that day so that it catches you unprepared. Here is where application to Christians comes in. We will not be here through the tribulations and the Great Tribulation awaiting the second coming of Christ; instead we are suppose to be waiting expectantly for the rapture of the church. To be prepared as stewards of what God has given us that we might be able to give a good account of what we have done with our master’s goods when he returns.
In both cases we should not get caught up in the cares of the world and not be prepared for our meeting with Christ. Verse 36 starts with this phrase “Watch ye therefore” the Jewish nation and the remaining gentiles need to be prepared that they are not caught in “snare” that Satan will lay out through the Antichrist and the tribulation period. Instead they need to pray that they will be prepared so that they may be counted worthy to escape all these things which Jesus has just described and to stand before the Son of man – Jesus Christ when he comes again. Christian we need to “watch ye therefore and pray always” that we will be faithful to Christ’s calling in our lives;
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
35. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
37. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
38. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
In verses 27-40 a group of Sadducees ask Jesus a question about the resurrection. This group did not believe in the resurrection due to it not being in the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy), and they were hoping to trap Jesus. Verses 35-38 is Jesus’ response to the Sadducees.
Jesus makes some points to the Sadducees in his response that I would like to remind you of today.
1. You are worthy: “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world.” This is referring to the individuals that have put their faith and trust in Jesus. If you are saved today, that is you!
2. Remember who you belong to: Jesus states, “…they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God.” If you are saved today, you are a child of God. You belong to him!
3. He is the God of the living: “For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”
I enjoy watching people’s behaviors and actions in certain situations. One thing that I have noticed is that people love taking the smallest thing possible and focusing on it. They allow this small thing to cause extreme amounts of stress, anxiety, frustration, anger and even bitterness. Before they know it, that small thing has taken over their life, and it has consumed them to the point it is all they see.
I wish I could say that Christians never experience this, but unfortunately, I cannot. However, God gives us some great reminders here that can help. No matter how unappreciated you may feel today, God sent his son to die for you to make you worthy. Let me remind you that if you are saved today, that God has made you worthy. No matter how alone you may feel today, if you are saved you are a child of God and belong to him! And no matter how broken you may feel, God has made you alive. Let’s all stop focusing on the small things of this world and give our focus to the one who has given us everything. God did not give us the promise of resurrection to be a slave to the problems of this world. Let’s remember who we belong to and give him the praise for it!
BIBLE READING: Luke 19
8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Here we are introduced to Zacchaeus, a short tax collector. Yes, I have had my far share of short Zacchaeus jokes, but in all seriousness, he was not very liked as a tax collector. He tended to cheat and steal from those who he collected from. What we see here, is a beautiful picture of grace. A person, who had lied, cheated, and stole, and that everyone disliked him. Jesus wanted to befriend and show his wonderful grace to him. Jesus was often condemned for talking to people like this, but it shows that God’s grace and salvation are for all.
How many times are we too intimidated or feel like we are out of place to share the gospel with others. Maybe we think the person is different than we are or maybe they would react back harsh to us. We all were sinners and needed God’s wonderful gift of Salvation. We see here Jesus did not care about Zacchaeus social status or how much he had done, but his most important need. All need the gift of salvation, it is our responsibility to share and live the gospel.
David Fulp II