Direction and Authority Part 1 of 2

Eyewitness pp 261,262
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
Acts 9:19b,20 NIV
In your Bible: Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 9:19b,20

The Eleven, the women, and believers went to the mountain as the resurrected Jesus instructed them. There Jesus gave them direction and authority after his ascension. Earlier they were shocked, grieving, and in despair. Now they were overjoyed to see Jesus again. But he knew he must prepare them for the tasks that would impact mankind for generations.

Jesus told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT).

Go

It’s important to know that the Father gave Jesus all authority—including authority over the evil one. When Jesus says “Go” with his authority, he conveys authority to the believer to do his will and the tasks he gives. The Eleven and other believers reached out to the Jewish nation.

Later, Saul of Tarsus, would meet the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. After spending several days with disciples there, Paul would follow Jesus’ command teaching Gentiles that Jesus was the Son of God (See Acts 9:19b-20). What an amazing turn-around for this persecutor of believers! Saul now named the Apostle Paul ministered in primarily Asia Minor.

Do

The disciples knew what Jesus meant when he said disperse or GO and they also knew what he meant when he said make disciples. However, sadly today we often we interpret this to mean “go and tell” – that’s far from disciple making.

Disciple making takes time and concerted effort teaching what Scripture means (even if it’s just what it means to you), and relating Bible stories. It’s a process that may take years, not one sermon or a weekend.

A disciple is best interpreted as “student.” Jesus chose the Twelve. Hundreds more were followers and some were disciples also. This took over three years. Then each Apostle (the Twelve), made disciples themselves. This process took centuries until now – you and I can be disciples. Yes, Jesus said, “I am with you always . . .”

Prayer: Father, I get it. I believe you and I will be part of the process to lead and teach others all about you. You are truly amazing, patient and abundant in lovingkindness.

Questions: What do you understand about Jesus having all authority? What is the difference between hearing the Gospel and becoming a disciple?

Jesus – King of Kings

In your Bible: 1 Timothy 6:15,16; Psalm 95:6,7; Romans: 8:32; 2 Peter 1:19.

It’s hard to put the full meaning of Christmas into two paragraphs for a blog. But, Sarah Young in a devotional book Jesus Calling,* gives a poignant account:

I am King of Kings and Lord of lords, dwelling in dazzling bright Light! I am also your Shepherd, Companion, and Friend—the One who never lets go of your hand. Worship Me in My holy Majesty; come close to me, and rest in My Presence. You need Me both as God and as Man. Only My Incarnation on that first long ago Christmas could fulfill your neediness. Since I went to such extreme measures to save you from you sins, you can be assured that I will graciously give you all you need.

Nurture well your trust in Me as Savior, Lord, and Friend. I have held back nothing in my provision for you. I have even deigned to live within you! Rejoice in all that I have done for you, and My Light will shine through you into the world.

* Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence, Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Dallas, Mexico City, Rio De Janeiro, 2004, p. December 23.

On the Road to Emmaus

Luke 13:34 NLT
In Your Bible: Luke 24:13-33

The same day the women told the Eleven about the empty tomb, two of Jesus’ followers were on the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem. They talked to each other about all that had happened, including the hard to believe story the women told. In Emmaus, they were certain Jesus was the Messiah.

Jesus Joins the Two Walking

Here’s what happened. Suddenly, Jesus himself came along and joined them . . . But they didn’t know who he was because God kept them from recognizing him (Luke 24:15,16 NLT). When Jesus asked what they were discussing, they were amazed this man didn’t know the events of the past few days.

The two told of the things that happened to Jesus . . . the man from Nazareth. We had thought he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel (Luke 24:19,21 NLT). After he heard these things Jesus reprimanded them for not believing what the prophets had written about him.

The Scriptures Tell of Jesus

As they walked along, Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27 NLT). This wasn’t merely a synopsis he revealed, likely it was much about the Messiah they’d never heard before.

Hearts Burned

As Jesus and the two were near the end of their walk home to Emmaus, they asked Jesus to stay overnight (and probably continue to tell more about these prophesies). Jesus agreed to stay. As they began to eat, Jesus broke the bread, blessed it, and gave it to the two. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognized him . . . (Luke 24:31a NLT).

The two disciples said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32 NLT). In Emmaus, they were certain Jesus was the Messiah.

Prayer: Father, thank you for revealing yourself to me. How I need you. Help me understand more of your mystery.

Questions: Does your heart burn as you read Scripture? How does Jesus open your eyes that he is the Messiah?

The Empty Tomb

Matthew 28: 2-10; 27: 54 NLT
Luke 24: 9 NIV
In Your Bible: Matthew 27: 54b and 28: 2-10; 27: 54; Luke 24: 2-10

The soldiers at the crucifixion were the first to testify the truth about Jesus is when they said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27: 54b NLT) Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilot for Jesus’ body to burry, wrapped it with a linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb. The crucifixion and the empty tomb were the beginning of God touching all mankind by the sacrifice of His Son.

Women at the tomb

Early the morning of first day of the week, Mary Magdalen, Mary mother of James and Joanna went to the tomb with spices to anoint Jesus’ body. The stone sealing the tomb had been moved away and a young man (an angel) sat at the entrance to the tomb.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said it would happen. Come see where his body was lying.” (Matthew 28:5-7 NLT)

The Women Encounter Jesus

As they hurried to tell the disciples what had happened and Jesus met them. “Great tidings!” he said. And they ran to him, held his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there” (Matthew 28:9,10 NLT).

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others (Luke 24:9 NIV). However, they could not believe the women’s incredible story. The crucifixion and the empty tomb were the beginning of God touching all mankind by the sacrifice of His Son.

Prayer: Father, I learn more and more of you through your Word. I don’t want to question anything you say.

Questions: Imagine yourself as one of the Eleven, confused with all that happened in these terrible – horrifying days. Even though you know the truth, does it still amaze you? Why do we question amazing and miraculous things told to us in the Word?

The Crucifixion of Jesus

Eyewitness: pp. 248-250
Eyewitness Stories: Luke 23:40-49
NLT: Luke 23:44
In Your Bible: Matthew 27:35-50; Mark 15:24-34; Luke 23:33-46

Herod flogged Jesus and was about to release him. But the crowd assailed this verdict and wildly asked for the prisoner Barabbas to be released. Jesus was crucified.

Many people mocked Jesus, including the Jewish leaders, soldiers, and one of the criminals to be crucified with him. Yet, many women, including Jesus’ mother, and Mary Magdalen mourned and cried as they followed him to the cross.

At the Cross

…” When the soldiers reached the place called ‘Skull,’ they nailed Jesus to the cross. The criminals were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left” (Luke 23:33 Eyewitness Stories). By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land (Luke 23:44 NLT).

What One Bible Scholar* Says

The account of Jesus’ death had immense impact for all mankind:

  1. This was as if the sun itself could not bear to look upon the deed that had been done at man’s hands.
  2. The Temple veil was ripped into – a barrier which kept the nearness of God reserved for the High Priest only – and opened it for all of mankind.
  3. At three o’clock, both Matthew and Mark record that Jesus screamed “Elon, Elon, sabachtani, which means “My God, My God for this I was born” (Matthew 27:45,46 and Mark 15:34 Eyewitness Stories)
  4. Jesus died with a prayer on his lips, “Father, I place my life in your hands,” and he quit breathing (Luke 13:46 Eyewitness Stories).

Prayer: Father, thank you for what you did for me in Jesus sacrifice

Question: When was the last time you saw the Jesus Film?

*The Daily Study Bible, The Gospel of Luke, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1956, pp. 300,301.