.......... .. .. ........... "Once In A While You Get Shown The Light In The Strangest Of Places If You Look At It Right" :Robert Hunter

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

He is Alive! Happy Easter

He is alive!  The tomb is empty.  Death could not hold Him!

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed, for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

1 Corinthians 15 (writen by Paul): Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. . . . .It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message.
Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said would happen. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died (if you want to go check it out). Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles, in fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.

I AZ feel like Paul.  I used to mock believers and read the bible to find fault to prove them wrong.  I did not come to belief until I was 42, when God did some miraculous and radical things in my life and got my attention.  Just like Paul sometimes I feel I am not worthy at all.  But Jesus has grace for even me!

Forgiveness, The Purpose of Easter

Forgiveness, The Purpose of Easter
Jesus said in Matthew 20:28 "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."  He also said this as the time for his death was approaching, John 12:27 "Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."  So it appears that for this death, that forgives us of our mistakes (sin) was His purpose.   Even when being nailed to a cross he said “Forgive them Lord they know not what they do”.   When giving us what is now called by many The Lord’s Prayer we see forgiveness, “forgive us or debts, as we forgive our debtors”  and right after that Jesus said this (Matthew 6:14-15) For if you forgive men their trespasses’ your heavenly father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will you Father forgive your trespasses.”
Forgiveness is so important to keep our walk with God from being derailed.  In Hebrews 12 it says we should peruse peace with all men least a root of bitterness overtake us.  Bitterness can short circuit or lives by keeping us in a state of unhappiness and causes behavior that is unproductive and pushes people away.  Forgiveness is key in our walk and it one of the main purposes that Jesus came to die in our place so we would be forgiven, and in turn forgive. 

Latter when He came back to life He encountered Peter as Peter was fishing.  Peter had followed Jesus for three years and told Jesus he would die for Him, but when it came time to take a stand, he denied he even knew Jesus three times.  And then he returned to his old life of being a fisherman.  Jesus came and asked three times if Peter loved Him, giving him three chances to make up for his three denials, and after each gave him a purpose or task, saying feed my sheep.  This is how it works, forgiveness gives purpose to life.  This is how Jesus forgives, for each time we have failed he gives us a chance to make it right and in that continue our purpose and reason to be.   Have you followed Jesus but for some reason turned your back on him and returned to your old life, and old ways?  Well if you have He wants to say again, “Do you love me?”  and forgive you and give you another chance, and with it again fill your life with purpose and meaning. 

Perfect Timing

Perfect Timing

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 This may ring a bell it was used in a popular song Turn Turn Turn. It was the adaptation of Ecclesiasties 3 put to music by Pete Seeger in 1959. Seeger waited until 1962 to record his own version of it. Most people know the Byrds version. What I find interesting is how there was a time for every purpose mandated in advance for the death of Jesus.

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem the week He was crucified it all happened with amazing timing to line up and correspond to prophecies and the Passover festival that all foretold of the event or was a picture of the event. The first event of the “Passion Week” or the Easter week is Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey. This happened on March 29th in the year 33, if you are using the Julian calendar. It was Nisan 9 3793 by the Jewish calendar. So what makes that perfect timing? Well in the bible in Daniel 9:25-26 there is a claim that the messiah will come sixty-nine weeks after a command to restore and build the temple. The command to rebuild the temple was on March 4th 444 B. C. (See Nehemiah 2:1-8). So what does this sixty-nine weeks mean? It was referring to sixty-nine groups of seven years. Back then the Prophetic year was 360 days. If we multiply 7 by 69 and then by 360 we can get the number of days from the date of command to rebuild the temple. So it is 483 years or 173,880 days or March 29th in the year 33. Hey, how did Daniel do that? So you say Jesus knew this and planed it. I say yes, because it was God’s plan for Him He knew it. But could you plan that you would do miracles and people would follow and respond if you were not really Him?
The other interesting thing about that day is it was Nisan 9 in the Jewish calendar. So what is significant about Nisan 9? Nisan 9 is the day the Jewish people selected or chose the lamb that was to be sacrificed in the temple for Passover. Kind of strange irony there if you ask me. Jesus shows up on a donkey and people want him to be their King, but He knows He knows He is just there to be the lamb selected for sacrifice.
The death of Jesus took place on Nisan 14 between the sixth and ninth hour. This is shown in in Luke 23:44. So what is significant about this time? This is the same hour of the day that the priests of the temple were to sacrifice the Passover lamb. This of course is celebrated in remembrance of the lamb they were commanded to kill in Egypt and place the blood at the doorstep of their homes, which lead to their freedom from Egyptian bondage. And we were set free from bondage to sin at this moment in time.
The burial of Jesus: The festival of unleavened bread began Friday evening (at sunset) what is even more interesting is what the people do at the Passover sadder or dinner. They take three pieces of bread (matzos), break the middle one and wrap it in cloth and hide it, and the children go looking for it. The symbolism is radical. The three pieces represent the Father the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. The middle one represents Jesus his broken body wrapped in grave cloth, placed hidden in a tomb.

I could write a whole post on this one. The bread traditionally is striped and pierced, just as His body was.
It was during a Passover sadder (a day early) that Jesus proclaimed that the meal represented Him and that He was instituting the New Covenant, which was foretold by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. The celebration of this covenant has become the ordinance of communion in the Christian Church. At the end of the meal, Jesus took the unleavened bread, broke it, and said that it represented His body. Then He took the cup of wine, which would have been the third cup of the Seder (cup of redemption). He said that it was the new covenant, His blood "poured out for you.” It is through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are declared clean before God, allowing those of us who choose to accept the pardon, to commune with Him - both now and forevermore through the eternal life He offers.

What is interesting is Jesus and His disciples had their meal, the so called last supper early. Most of the people would have their Sadder while Jesus was in the tomb, thus the bread would be hidden at this time. For a time line and explanation of events these are good resources   http://www.friktech.com/rel/passover.htm  http://www.jesusfirst.org/free-downloads/articles/timeline.pdf

The resurrection: On Nissan 17 the people have the Feast of First fruits. First fruits is the first day after the Sabbath following Passover. This is when Mary went to the tomb and Jesus was no longer in the tomb. The risen Jesus Christ was seen that morning by Mary near the garden tomb. -John 20:10-18. As part of the festival, the Jews would take some of the grain - the "first fruits" of their harvest - to the Temple to offer as a sacrifice. In so doing, they were offering God all they had and trusting Him to provide. Paul refers to Jesus as the first fruits of those raised from the dead in 1 Corinthians. As such, Jesus represents the fulfillment of God's promise to provide the rest of the harvest - resurrection of those who follow the Messiah.

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40 Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples on Tuesday evening. He was crucified and buried on Wednesday, Passover day. Thursday was the high day annual Sabbath. The women bought burial spices on Friday, prepared them, and then rested on the weekly Sabbath. On the first day of the week they came to anoint Jesus’ body but found the tomb empty because HE WAS RISEN!