Archive for September, 2013

Peace

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.  Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

John 20:19-21

After the crucifixion, the disciples were a little nervous.  It seemed that their Lord had been killed and that the Jews or the Roman government would soon be coming after them.  They were assembled, but they were assembled “for fear of the Jews.”  It was during this time of fear and nervousness and gnawing doubt that Jesus appeared to them, saying “Peace be unto you.”  He said this twice.  “Peace be unto you.”

When they were fearful and afraid, Jesus appeared to them and comforted them.  He stood in the midst of them and brought them comfort.

It is the same with us.  When we find ourselves nervous and afraid, it is then that Jesus shows Himself to us, bringing peace to our troubled hearts.  It is in the darkest times of our lives that Jesus shows Himself most real to us.  Just when we need Him most, that is when He comes.

Jesus loved the disciples and He loves us.  He brought peace and comfort to them when they were most afraid and He brings peace and comfort to us when we are most afraid.  “Peace be unto you.”  We need to thank the Lord today for all of the times He showed Himself strong to us and soothed our troubled souls.  He brings us peace, when we need it most, every time.

He’s Gone

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.  Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.  Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.  So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.  And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.  Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.  Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

John 20:1-8

These verses and the story it contains are the center of all of Christianity.  They tell us of a risen Saviour.  They crucified the Lord Jesus.  They buried Him.  They placed guards at the tomb.  But none of that stopped Him.  He conquered death.  He became the first and only man to raise from the dead on His own power.

Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and John were the first to see the empty tomb.  Imagine the honor that that would have been.  Mary went early in the morning to the tomb.  Maybe she was just going to pay her respects.  Maybe she thought that a miracle had happened.  Whatever it was, she saw the empty tomb.  She ran and told the others, who also ran to see it.  There it was: the empty tomb with folded graveclothes.

Jesus was not there.  He was risen.  What a wonderful Saviour and what a privilege to serve a risen Lord!

You Never Know

And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.  He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

John 19:38-40

After the crucifixion, two men came to Pilate and asked for the body to Jesus.  They wanted to at least give Him a proper burial.  Nicodemus brought a mixture of a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to anoint Jesus’ body with.  Neither of these men were among His chosen twelve.  Neither of these men were even among His more “public” followers.  But they worshipped Jesus and loved Him.  They wanted to honour Him.

Joseph of Arimathaea was identified as a “disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews…”  He was afraid of the Jews.  He was afraid to identify with Jesus but he was a believer.  He was a disciple of Jesus.  Nicodemus “first came to Jesus by night.”  Nicodemus was the same way.

When I read this, it helps me to see that you just never know about people.  You can’t see a person’s heart.  One might never have known that Joseph was a disciple of Jesus.  He probably should have been more outspoken.  He probably should have tried to have a better testimony.  But he was a disciple nonetheless.

We need to help people.  We need to pray for people.  You just never know what is going on in someone’s head and heart.

Did Pilate Know?

Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.  And Pilate wrote  title, and put it on the cross.  And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.  This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.  Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.  Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

John 19:18-22

As Jesus was going to be crucified, Pilate wrote a title for Jesus and put it on the cross to identify Him.  He wrote “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.”  And he wrote it in three different languages, just to make sure everybody was able to read it.  The chief priests were angry about it because they had just declared “we have no king but Caesar.”  They had rejected Jesus and were adamant about it.  They wanted the wording on the title changed.  But Pilate, unwilling to stand up to them any other time, stood up here and said “What I have written I have written.”

Pilate said numerous times that he found no fault in Jesus.  He then made a banner for the cross declaring that Jesus was indeed the King of the Jews.  He rejected the Jews’ attempts to get him to change the wording.  Did Pilate really believe?  Did Pilate know that Jesus was King of the Jews?  It is an interesting question.  He didn’t want to crucify Him, but he was afraid of the Jews, so he let them have Him and crucify Him.

Pilate may have known, but he didn’t act on his knowledge.  We know the truth; let us act on what we know.  Let us believe on Jesus and be bold in our faith!

No King But Caesar

And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.  Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?  The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

John 19:14-15

As Pilate continued to try to get the Jews to release Jesus, the people started to get more agitated.  Pilate said several times that he found no fault in Jesus.  He asked the Jews over and over if they would be willing to release Him.  They continued in their stubbornness.  They continued to reject the Lord Jesus, favoring instead the violent criminal Barabbas.  The last time Pilate asked “Shall I crucify your King?”  They reached the point of no return: “We have no king but Caesar.”  Think about the sadness of that statement.

Caesar didn’t care anything about them.  In fact, in the not too distant future, a Caesar would destroy Jerusalem.  Caesar was a dictator over them.  He ruled them, controlled them and taxed them.  On the other hand, Jesus was the Prince of Peace.  He came to help people.  He loved them.  He loved them so much that He went to the cross to die for them – something Caesar would never even have thought about doing.  Jesus healed their sick.  He comforted the hurting ones among them.  He loved them.  Caesar ignored them at best and hated them at worst.  Yet still, when faced with a choice between them, they chose Caesar over Jesus.

The same basic choice is still given to men today.  They can choose Jesus, or the world and the devil behind it.  Jesus love them.  The world and the devil hates them.  Yet how many of them still choose to reject the Saviour?  Many would say “we have no king but Caesar.”  Let us say “we have no King but Jesus Christ!”

O How I Love Jesus (Hymn)

O How I Love Jesus
Frederick Whitfield (1855)

There is a Name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in my ear,
The sweetest Name on earth.

Refrain
O how I love Jesus,
O how I love Jesus,
O how I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me!

It tells me of a Saviour’s love,
Who died to set me free;
It tells me of His precious blood,
The sinner’s perfect plea.

Refrain

It tells me of a Father’s smile
Beaming upon His child;
It cheers me through this little while,
Though desert, waste and wild.

Refrain

It tells me what my Father hath
in store for every day,
And though I tread a darksome path,
Yields sunshine all the way.

Refrain

It tells of One whose loving heart
Can feel my deepest woe;
Who in each sorrow bears
A part that none can bear below.

Refrain

It bids my trembling heart rejoice.
It dries each rising tear.
It tells me, in a still, small voice,
To trust and never fear.

Refrain

Jesus, the Name I love so well,
The Name I love to hear:
No saint on earth its worth can tell,
No heart conceive how dear.

Refrain

This Name shall shed its fragrance still
Along this thorny road,
Shall sweetly smooth the rugged hill
That leads me up to God.

Refrain

And there with all the blood-bought throng,
From sin and sorrow free,
I’ll sing the new eternal song
Of Jesus’ love for me.

Refrain

“O how I love Jesus.”  Only a true Christian can sing this song and mean it.  I have sung this song for years and had no idea it had so many verses until I looked it up for this post.  What a great song that glorifies the Lord Jesus with every verse.  It is true – “O how I love Jesus!”

Wisdom

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.  Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.  Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

Proverbs 4:5-8

In this passage, and many others, we are told to “get wisdom.”  We are also told that wisdom is the principal thing.  Wisdom is the most important thing and we are commanded many times to get it and get as much of it as we can.  Wisdom is here personified and we are told to “forsake her not,” to “love her,” to “exalt her,” and to “embrace her.”  With the great importance attached to wisdom, we had better make sure we know what we are looking for.

The dictionary definitions of wisdom are “an accumulated philosophic or scientific learning,” “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships,” and “good sense.”  Those are all reasonable definitions, but I heard a definition at church the other day that I think is a superior definition, especially for the Christian.  Wisdom is simple thinking like God thinks.  That simple definition really does encompass everything for the Christian.

If we need to know what to do with our time, the answer is to think the way God thinks.  Read the Bible, find out what He has to say about using time, and do it.  That is wisdom.  If we need to know what to do with our money, the answer is to think the way God thinks.  Read the Bible, find out what He has to say about using money, and do it.

Whatever our question or problem, thinking the way God thinks about it will help us to answer or solve it.  That is a great definition of wisdom!

Making Their Decision

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?  And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find them, I find in him no fault at all.  But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?  Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas.  Now Barabbas was a robber.

John 18:38-40

When Jesus was brought before Pilate, Pilate could not find any fault.  Pilate questioned the people who brought Jesus to him and he questioned Jesus Himself.  After all of this questioning, he found nothing wrong with Jesus.  But the Jews had a “custom.”

It seemed that Jesus was always talking about the Scriptures.  He was always talking about God’s Word.  The Pharisees and chief priests were much more concerned with their customs.  They seemed to fight Jesus during every step of His earthly ministry with their customs.  This was another one of their customs; this is the custom they used to kill Jesus.

You can tell that Pilate didn’t really want to crucify Jesus.  He found nothing wrong with Him, and was willing to release Him.  But the people didn’t want Him to be released.  They wanted Him to be crucified.  They wanted Barabbas to be released.  Barabbas was a robber and murderer.  He was a violent criminal and they wanted him walking free among them instead of the Prince of Peace.

They made their decision.  They made the decision to reject the Saviour.  It was a terrible decision and a decision that would have consequences reaching even to the present day.  We are faced with the same decision – accept Him or reject Him.  Which one have we made?

What Is Truth

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?  Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king.  To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.  Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.  Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?  And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

John 18:36-38

When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king, Jesus responded that His kingdom was not of this world.  To reinforce that, He told them that if His kingdom were of this world, “then would my servants fight.”  Peter started to fight and wanted to fight, but Jesus told him not to.  In fact, He even healed the servant’s ear after Peter cut it off.

His was the kingdom of God, which was a spiritual kingdom.  He said that he came to “bear witness unto the truth.”  Pilate responded with “What is truth?”

It is sad that Pilate asked this question directly to the one man who could truly answer it.  He was standing in front of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He asked the right question to the right person, but he asked it not really wanting an answer.  He was so very close to the truth, and yet missed it completely.

There are many in the world today who do the same thing.  They look for the truth, but they look everywhere but the one place they can find it: Jesus Christ.  What is truth?  It is Jesus.  It is His Word.  That is truth.  We know it; let us be thankful for it!

Wicked Fleeing

Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?  They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

John 18:29-30

The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Proverbs 28:1

These verses in John 18 deal with the chief priests of the Jews and their answers to Pilate.  Pilate asked them a simple and straightforward question: “What accusation bring ye against this man?”  That is a reasonable question for a man in a judicial position to ask when presented with a man he is about to try.  “What are you accusing him of doing?”  The priests answer was interesting.

“If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.”

Basically, Pilate asked “what did he do?”  They responded, “he obviously did something or we wouldn’t have brought him!”  That seems to be a strange response.  That sounds like the response of people who do not really have an accusation.  That sounds like the response of people with a guilty conscience.  He hadn’t actually done anything wrong and they knew it.  But they hated Him and desperately wanted to get rid of Him.

Their answer seemed defensive when there should have been no need to be defensive.  To me, this is the perfect illustration of Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

If you are right and telling the truth, you have no need to fear.  You have no need to give evasive answers.  You can just tell the truth.  On the other hand, shiftiness and evasiveness are characteristics of one who is not telling the truth.

Are we bold in our speech, or are we elusive and defensive?  The answer will probably tell us if what we are saying is true and honest or deceitful.