1 Philippians 3:10
"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" Philippians 3:10
I have been praying about a new theme to carry us through the Easter holiday and God brought this verse to my mind. We can see the message of this verse in the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, of Bethany. We see Mary at the feet of Jesus in Luke 10:39 as she sat and "heard His word" and also in John 12:3 as she "anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair." She knew Jesus. In John 11 we can read the story of Lazarus and how Jesus raised him from the dead. He knew the power of resurrection. And again in Luke 10, verses 38-41 we can read of Martha, the servant who knew "the fellowship of his sufferings." Let's look into the Word of God and prepare our hearts and minds for Easter as we say with Paul, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;"
2 Do You Know The Good Shepherd?
"Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:24-28
We are looking at the first part of Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him..." Jesus said in John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." It is amazing to me that, not only can we know the Good Shepherd, but that He knows us. Do you know the Good Shepherd, that laid down His life for you? Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." We are entering the Easter holiday season, the time we celebrate the new life we find in Christ, through His death and resurrection. Maybe you don't know the Good Shepherd, and you are asking as the Jews, "If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." Look into His Word and let the Holy Spirit guide you into the true knowledge of Jesus Christ. Confess that you are a lost sinner and believe in your heart that Jesus died on the cross to give His life to pay for your sins. Jesus said that His sheep know Him. You can know that you are saved. Don't wait too late and hear Him say, "I never knew you..." "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23) Don't let another Easter pass without knowing Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior.
3 The Prophets Knew Him
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14
This is only one of many prophecies in the Old Testament that foretold the birth of our Lord and Savior. God sent the message long before Jesus came to earth. He sent an angel to remind Joseph of this prophecy so that he would know this was His Son. "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS." (Matthew 1:19-25) The prophecies were given as a sign of His coming and those who looked for Him, knew Him. When Jesus was only eight days old Mary and Joseph took him to the temple and Simeon and Anna both knew that this was the promised Christ. (Luke 2:21-38) You can know Him. Look beyond the baby in the manger and see the Christ child, the only begotten Son of God.
4 The World Doesn't Know Him
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:1-12
Verse 10 of this chapter is sad. "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." Jesus came to give Light to a world of darkness and the world "knew him not." I heard a song on the radio that has a line, "Turn out the light, don't try to save me." How many people in the world are saying that today? It is hard when you try to hand someone a tract and the response is, "No, I'm not interested" or "I don't want to read that." The world does not know Jesus and doesn't want to know Him. The Holy Spirit must convict a lost sinner and lead that soul to seek the Lord. And when we think how sad it is that the world does not know Him, look at verse 11 and see the full picture of rejection. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." Not only did the world not know Him, but His own people turned Him away and crucified Him. Don't turn Him away. Let Jesus bring Light into your darkness.
5 More Than A Carpenter
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?" Luke 4:16-22
This chapter goes on to say that the people in the synagogue became angry "And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong." (Luke 4:29) These were men that had known Jesus all his life. They knew his family. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" These were men of the synagogue and they thought they knew Him, but yet they tried to throw Jesus off the cliff. I am afraid that there are many in our churches today who think they know Jesus. They know Him as a carpenter's son. They accept that He was a good teacher and could perform miracles. But they do not believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. So, in all reality, they don't know Him. They think they know Him, but they don't really know who Jesus is. As we near Easter Sunday, ask yourself if you really know the Christ of the resurrection. It is not enough to know about Jesus. You must believe in your heart that He died to pay the awful cost for your sin and confess that you are a lost sinner. Do you know Him?
6 The Demons Know Him
"And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him." Mark 1:24 & 25
"And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him." Mark 1:32-34
In the four gospels of the New Testament we read of people who knew who Jesus was, Mary and Joseph, Simeon, Anna, and Mary of Bethany. We also read of Scribes and Pharisees, and many who did not know Jesus. There was another group who knew who Jesus was, the demons. In James 2:19 we read, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." Once again today I want to make the point that it is not enough to know who Jesus is. Hear the words that Jesus told Nicodemus, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) Have you been born again? Don't spend eternity with the demons. Some of the saddest words spoken in the Bible are in Acts 26:27 & 28 as Paul witnessed to King Agrippa. "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Are you almost persuadest? What is keeping you from believing on the Lord Jesus Christ? "The devils believe, and tremble." Won't you believe today?
7 Do You Know The Way?
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:1-6
It seems to be common consensus that most men would rather drive around in circles than ask someone for directions. Well, Thomas was not afraid to ask for directions. Jesus told him that He was going to prepare a place for them and they knew the way. I appreciate the candidness of Thomas, because when the disciples asked questions, Jesus explained things in simple language for us to understand. Thomas just came right out and said, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" He was not embarrassed to ask for directions. And because of his question, we have these familiar words of our Lord, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Jesus is making a home for us in heaven and He will come back to take us with Him. Do you know the way to heaven? You can get there only through Jesus. Don't be too proud to ask Jesus for direction in your life. Trust Him to lead you to an eternal home in heaven.
8 Who Do You Say Jesus Is?
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 16:13-17
We have spent a week concentrating on the first part of Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him..." As Jesus points out in His conversation with Peter, people have different ideas about who He really is. Some think Jesus was a good teacher and others, a prophet. What people around you think about Jesus may affect your life, but it doesn't determine your eternity. Being brought up in a Christian home doesn't save you. Your Mom and Dad may be great Christian parents, and their parents may have been great Christian people, and their parents the same, but their faith won't save you. You must become a child of God by believing in your own heart. As someone once said, "God doesn't have grandchildren, only children." You aren't birthed into the family of God by your ancestry. So, as we finish this week, let me ask you, "Whom do you say Jesus is?" Is He Lord of your life?
9 He Was Wounded For Our Transgressions
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Isaiah 53:3-7
We looked at the first phrase of Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him..." This week I want us to try to understand "...the fellowship of his sufferings..." Just as the prophets of the Old Testament foretold the birth of Jesus, the sufferings of our Supreme Sacrifice were also foretold. Isaiah 53 makes it clear that "...he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities..." Jesus is the Lamb of God who gave His life for our sin. Romans 3:23 tells us, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
10 He Will Give You Rest
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
As we consider the "fellowship of his sufferings" from Philippians 3:10, let's look at this invitation from the Lord. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Are you heavy laden under pain and suffering? Do your burdens seem too heavy to bear? Many times we have burdens that even our close friends and family can't understand, but Jesus knows our every weakness and He cares. See also that the invitation is extended to all, as He calls to "all ye that labour and are heavy laden..." If you are struggling under the burden of sin, John 3:16 makes it clear that "whosoever believeth in Him" can be saved. Galatians 3:26-28 also explains, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Last of all, see the promise, "...I will give you rest." In Bible days when two oxen were yoked together the job was easier for each of them. If we will take the yoke of Jesus and let Him bear our burden we will soon find that our burden is lighter. You don't have to suffer alone. Go to Jesus and find rest for your soul.
11 Sufferings Of This Present Time
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ” Romans 8:16-18
I really don't understand how some can teach and preach that God doesn't want His children to suffer. Paul told young Timothy, "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (II Timothy 3:10-12) Don't turn against God when heartaches and trials come. Don't walk away from God when the storms of life come against you. Many people have quit on God and left their churches because they blame God for some sorrow in their lives. As we look toward Easter, it is a good time to remember all the pain and suffering Jesus went through to give us life eternal. Then we can say with Paul, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
12 Sufferings Through Our Words
"For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:2-8
Most of us would not cause bodily harm to someone or cause them to suffer physically. We are merciful to others and would stop and help someone in trouble. But how many of us cause pain and suffering to others by the harsh words that we say? I think it is even a greater tragedy that we are often abusive to the ones we love. We would never think of pointing out the flaws of strangers that we meet. Yet many feel obligated to tell their friends that they're gaining weight, or need a new hair style, or their car is dirty. Christians even use the rationalization of asking for prayer on behalf of someone as a means of spreading gossip. Paul warns Timothy of some, "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (I Timothy 5:13) And on the positive side, Paul also said, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;... Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." (Romans 12:10, 14 & 15) We need to pray that God will help us control our tongue so that we won't cause pain and suffering through our words.
13 Take Up Your Cross And Follow Him
"Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels." Luke 9:23-26
Jesus foretold the disciples of His death and resurrection but they didn't understand what He said. Mark 9:31 & 32 tells us, "For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him." We have an advantage in that we can read the gospels and see that Christ died for us, and He rose again the third day just like He said. When we believe and accept Him as our Savior the Holy Spirit lives within us and makes the Word come alive in our hearts and lives. The same words that He spoke to the disciples on that day long ago, He still speaks to us through His Word. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." We must say with John, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) We are to put Christ first in our lives and make Him ruler and Lord, following His will. As a child of God, we realize that we are nothing without Christ. Jesus died for you. Don't be ashamed to live for Him.
14 Good Friday
"When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will save him: for he said, I am the Son of God." Matthew 27:24-43
Jesus could have saved Himself, but He chose to save us. As we think about these sad words let us also look in the book of Revelation... "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." (Revelation 5:11-13) Amen.
15 It Is Finished
"And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God." Mark 15:33-39
"After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." John 19:28-30
No doubt, this centurion, ruler over a hundred soldiers, had witnessed many crucifixions. His heart was probably hardened to the pain and suffering of others. He may have seen the submissive Spirit of Jesus as the nails were driven into the hands of our Lord. He heard His cries, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) The centurion saw the compassion of this dying Man as He made arrangements for His mother to be taken care of. He, a soldier who knew no fear, felt the awful weight of darkness for three hours that day. Who was this Man of whom Pilate said, "I find no fault in him"? (John 19:4) The centurion stayed at his post, next to the cross, and when it was all over he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God." Jesus finished the task He came to fulfill. And just as the centurion confessed that He is the Son of God, all will one day confess the same. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14:11 & 12) Easter is here. Do you know Jesus, the only begotten Son of God?
16 Christ The Lord Is Risen Today!
"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which 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 the disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word." Matthew 28:1-8
This is what makes Christianity different from all other religions. Christ arose from the dead on the third day, after the crucifixion. The stone was rolled away! The tomb was empty! He lives! We serve a living Savior. And because He lives, we can live. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18) Do you believe?
17 Healing For The Broken Hearted
“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master." John 20:11-16
As we continue in our verse from Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" we are looking now at the "power of his resurrection". Today, let's look at what the resurrection gives to the broken hearted. Mary went to the tomb in great sadness, but when Jesus said her name, "Mary", she knew Him. Remember that Jesus said in John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." Jesus knows us by name, and we can know Him. Jesus also knew the power of the resurrection, as we see continued in John 10:17 & 18, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." We all have sorrow and tears from time to time in our lives, but the Lord can help us through these sad times and He has power to heal our broken hearts. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalm 137:3) Let Jesus heal your broken heart.
18 Forgiveness For The Back-Slidden
"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 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. 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. 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.” Mark 16:1-7
I had never noticed the words of the angel until my Pastor, Jeff Woods, preached from these verses Easter morning. Notice that the angel said, "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter..." Remember that Peter had denied the Lord. "And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:60-62) Peter tried to defend Jesus. In verse 36 of this 22nd chapter of Luke the Lord told the disciples to take a sword. In verse 50 (and in John 18:10) Peter took the sword and cut off the ear of Malchus. (I imagine that he was aiming for his head and the man ducked.) Jesus healed the man and Peter must have been very confused. And after he denied his Lord he must have felt like a failure. There are times in our lives when we get ahead of God and try to solve problems on our own. There are also times when we fail to follow God and end up defeated. Jesus loves us, even when we fail Him. After He rose the third day, He wanted to see Peter. The angel mentioned him by name. Peter gained power through the resurrection and went on to become a great preacher for His Lord as we see in Acts 4:8-14. "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." I pray that I can live a life that people will know that I have been with Jesus.
19 Assurance And Comfort For The Bewildered
"But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself... And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blesed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures." Luke 24:21-32
We have been talking about how the power of the resurrection can change lives, as in Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" These two disciples were on the road to Emmaus and they were talking about all that had taken place in Jerusalem. They were discouraged, disheartened, and bewildered. Jesus started walking with them and opened their eyes to the scriptures. When we feel overcome by the things of this world, we need to go to the scriptures and walk and talk with the Lord. He can give us assurance and peace in the midst of our storms and tribulations. He can comfort a troubled soul and calm a bewildered spirit.
20 Everlasting Life For The Believer
"But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:24-31
When Jesus said, "... blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" He was talking about me. If you are a believer, saved by His marvelous grace, He was talking about you, too. We did not get the privilege of tasting the loaves and fishes blessed by the Lord Jesus. We did not hear Him speak on the Mount of Olives, or walk by His side along the shores of Galilee. We did not see the lame, walk again, or see the blind leap for joy after receiving sight. But we can praise His wonderful name that we have the Holy Scriptures written, so that we might believe and receive Spiritual sight. We can say with the blind man, "I once was blind but now I see." I thank God that I learned John 3:16 as a child and I praise His Holy name that He gave me faith to believe. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoseover believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
21 Resurrection For The Believers
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thessalonians 4:13-18
When my dad died a few years ago I was sad, but I did not sorrow as those that have no hope. My dad went to sleep one night and woke up in glory. He had a great Christian testimony and I have no doubt that I will meet him again in heaven. I believe that Jesus died and rose again to give me life, so I have no problem believing that we will also be "caught up" as Paul describes in these verses. Jesus went back to heaven to prepare a place for us. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3) Isn't it wonderful that Jesus wants to spend eternity with you and me?
22 Conforming Unto Jesus
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1 & 2
We are finishing our series on Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" As Christians, we are the children of God and we should not conform to the world. "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (II Corinthians 6:16-18) When Christ saves us we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and we become "the temple of the living God". God does not require us to give our lives unto death to become sacrifices, but He wants us to give ourselves in service to Him and be a "living sacrifice". Ephesians 4:22-24 explains it as putting off the old man, and putting on the new man once we are saved. "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in rightousness and true holiness." We are transformed and become new creatures in Christ as we see in II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Just as the new flowers burst up from the earth in bright colors, let us put on the new man and "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."