Life “In Christ” – A New Blog Series

I am about to start series on what a believer has and is In Christ. This includes Jesus in you, power of God in you, the help of the Holy Spirit in you. All of this leads you to peace with the Father and the ability to make better decisions –  guided by His direction.

Here is a Scripture in wording you may not recognize (by Eugene Peterson from The Message). It’s part of an eye opening look at the term In Christ and the rendering of Scripture that is fresh, worth pondering and praying about.

[ The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms ] With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2 The Message).

This series will be about ten to twelve blogs.

Stay tuned, jump in, and focus on Jesus.

Denny

Just Before His Ascension

“And when the Holy Spirit comes, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the world” (Acts 1:8 THE MESSAGE).

THE MESSAGE: Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:29,30; and Acts 1:1-11
In Your Bible: Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:29,30; and Acts 1:1-11

Scripture contains several accounts of the resurrection. Imagine how astounding it was! He gave them this commission as one of the last things he said.

Jesus… gave his charge [to his disciples], “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20 THE MESSAGE).

When the disciples boldly asked Jesus, if he would restore the Kingdom to Israel after all the lost years, Jesus replied with an odd statement, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit”… (Acts 1:7 THE MESSAGE).

Gift From the Father

Then Jesus revealed they and all believers would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes – to do things for the Kingdom. Jesus continued, “And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” These were Jesus’ last words (Acts 1:8,9 THE MESSAGE).

Jesus Ascends

This passage in Mark reads this way: Then the Master Jesus, after briefing them [disciples] was taken up to heaven, and sat down beside God in the place of honor. And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence (Mark 16:19,20 THE MESSAGE). God was with them working His work. Alleluia.

Application: The Holy Spirit empowers believers. This was the start what we now call the church (body of believers). The entire command Jesus gave here outlines what believers are to be doing today…spread the gospel, train, baptize, and teach all that Jesus said to do.

Prayer: Father, what a command and what a JOY to know Jesus sits at your right hand. It encourages me that he is with me daily.

Question: What amazes you most about the Great Commission? How can you tell others about Jesus and his love for them?

Jesus and the Disciples

Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen me, yet believe” (John 20:29 Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: pp. 258,259

In Your Bible: Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-44; John 20:19-31 and 1 Corinthians 15:5,7

Jesus Appears to the Eleven

The first day of the next week the disciples, afraid of the Jewish leaders, met behind closed doors. They discussed all that had happened, the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. But now they couldn’t find Jesus’ body. Further, some of the women claimed to have seen him. The disciples were disappointed and confused.

Later [that Sunday evening] Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating, and he reproached them for their lack of faith and rejection of those who had seen him after he had risen (Mark 36:14 Eyewitness).

He showed them his wounds and they realized it really was Jesus! Then he blessed them and commissioned the disciples. This was before Thomas was present.

“Peace be with you,” Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I send you.” After saying these words he breathed on them. “Receive the Holy Spirit. The sins you forgive will be forgiven, and the sins you do not forgive will not be forgiven” (John 20:21-21 Eyewitness).

Some Bible commentators* say breathing on the disciples was a sign to them that Jesus was alive. It also demonstrated the spiritual life and power they would receive.

Thomas was Convinced

Eight days later, the disciples were gathered behind closed doors, and Thomas was with them. Jesus appeared and stood among them. “Peace be with you.” He said to Thomas, “Look at the scars in my hands, and put your finger where the nails were driven. Put your hand on my side. Do not doubt anymore. Believe.” Thomas cried,”My Lord and my God” (John 20:26-28 Eyewitness).

Jesus shows he cares for his disciples and all believers. He said to them [disciples], “When I was with you, I told you that everything written in the Law and the prophets, and the Psalms concerning me must be fulfilled.”He opened their eyes to understand the Scriptures”… (Luke 24:44,45 Eyewitness).

Application: It is still true. Blessed are those who have not seen Jesus and believe. The Savior is waiting for you to believe in him. If you already believe in Jesus, how can you help others believe?

Prayer: Father, thank you for forgiving my sins. Help me to forgive others.

Question: Who was the first man that God breathed life into? How do you relate to the disciple Thomas and his reluctance to believe? When was the last time you were emotionally sure of something but confused and disappointed at the same time?

* Mattew Henry, Commentary in One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, 1960. p.1628.

A Risen Jesus

“You do not have to cling to me,” Jesus said, “because I am not going to my Father yet. But go to my brothers and tell them I will soon ascend to my father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17 Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: pp. 253-2567.
In Your Bible: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:7 and Luke 24:27.

As the Sabbath ended, three women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome) brought sweet-smelling spices to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body.

Three Women Find the Tomb Empty

An angel gave these three women instructions: He said, “Go, tell his disciples including Peter that he will go before you, and you will see him in Galilee as he said you would” (Mark 16:7 Eyewitness).* The women left with fear and amazement at seeing the empty tomb, an angel and an assignment for them.

The women ran from the tomb.Then, Jesus met and greeted them. They fell at his feet reached out, and worshipped him. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus said, “tell my brothers to go to Galilee where they will see me” (Matthew 28:9,10). The women who were first to see Jesus told the disciples, but they didn’t believe the message.

Disciples on the Way to Emmaus

Later the same day, Jesus walked with two disciples on the way to Emmaus. They didn’t recognize him. They told Jesus about the women going to the tomb, but none of the disciples found Jesus. In fact, no one believed the women’s report of seeing the Master.

Jesus was patient as he walked and talked with these two. Then, Beginning with Moses and all the prophets Jesus took them through the Scriptures and explained everything concerning himself (Luke 24:27). Finally they recognized Jesus as he broke bread to eat.

Application: What amazing encounters these believers had with Jesus. Emotions, especially excitement and joy accompany any new believer as they meet Jesus face to face.

Prayer: Father, thank you for this record of Jesus nurturing his followers. Help prepare me to tell the world about Jesus the Christ.

Question: How do you think you would respond if someone told you “he’d seen the risen Savior.” Does it seem strange to you that the women closest to Jesus would be given the privilege to hear, speak to and receive instructions?

* The Daily Study Bible Series, The Gospel of Mark, Revised Edition, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, p. 369.

JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION

At nine o’clock, when the soldiers reached the place called The Skull, they nailed Jesus to the cross (Luke 24:33 Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: Psalm 22; Matthew 27:35-57; Luke 23:33-46 and 24:33-47; John 19:30.
In Your Bible: Psalm 22; Matthew 27:35-57; Luke 23:33-46 and 24:33-47; John 19:30.

Golgotha: where Jesus said little but conveyed much in his painful ordeal. To the Jewish leadership it was a victory, to the disciples and close followers it was not at all what they expected, but to the Father it was His path of redemption for mankind.

Jesus on the Cross

Jesus The last three hours on the cross, he showed his agony: Jesus screamed, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani.” Which means “My God, my God, for this I was born” (Matthew 27:45 Eyewitness). Notice this wording is from Psalm 22:1, where David speaks a foreshadowing of Christ in the New Testament.* Jesus exemplifies his desire for forgiveness to the people involved in his Crucifixion. Another familiar verse, “Father forgive them,” Jesus prayed, “Because they do not know what they are doing…” (Matthew 27:47 and Luke 23:34 Eyewitness).

It Is Finished

Jesus screamed, “Father, I place my life in your hands,” and he quit breathing (Luke 23:46 Eyewitness). John describes the moment with Jesus shouting one Greek word Telelestai, a victor’s shout.*

From noon until three o’clock darkness covered the earth – Jesus was on the cross – the sun eclipsed. Scripture records more astounding events the moment Jesus gave up his spirit. Other notable events were:

  • Earthquakes rumbled; the earth shook.
  • The Temple curtain ripped in two, from top to bottom.
  • Tombs opened and many godly people rose from the dead.
  • These left their graves and were seen in Jerusalem.

The work of God’s redemption and salvation for man was complete when Jesus said, “It is finished.” ** This fatal blow to the power of Satan opened the fountain of grace that will flow forever.

Application: During the ordeal of the Crucifixion, Jesus considered those around him. He knew the holy purpose of his sacrifice was for you and me today. Many signs gave evidence that the Savior accomplished his task. Alleluia.

Prayer: Father, thank you for what Jesus did on the cross. It’s hard to comprehend what he did for me. As I ponder it, I am overwhelmed by JOY.

Question: What is most remarkable to you about the Crucifixion? After reading Psalm 22, can you see that David foreshadowed much of what Christ would pass through?

* The Daily Study Bible Series, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 2, Revised Edition, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1975 pp.368-370.

**Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p 1622.

Photo From: Jesus His Life and Times, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1979.