Jesus was busy on Resurrection Sunday. He appeared on the Road to Emmaus, to the women in the garden, to Peter and to a gathering of disciples in a closed room. John records this appearance in John 20:19-22. I like the Amplified translation as it makes what happened clearer. 19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side.” The fact that Jesus appeared to them without opening the door tells us He was a spirit. Yet, he showed them His hands and side that had been pierced at the cross which tells us He was physically real. Only Jesus could be both in His resurrection body. He begins with the common Hebrew greeting- ‘Peace to you’. This shows Jesus’ love and sensitivity as perhaps they would have expected a harsh word from Jesus for abandoning Him after His arrest. They received peace and warmth from their Savior not rebuke or criticism. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you[as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Their response to Jesus was pure joy! Then He sent greetings of peace to them and gave them orders to tell others. He was sending them with power from His Holy Spirit to go and be His representatives, telling others of His death, resurrection, salvation and forgiveness of sins. Jesus breathed on them power that would sustain them until the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later at Pentecost.
What is your response to the risen Savior? I’m sure the disciples had various reactions like joy that He was alive, curiosity about His wounds, questions about their purpose in life now that He is no longer teaching them day to day? Jesus answered their questions, shared in their joy and gave them purpose. It is the same purpose Jesus has for us- tell others the good news of the gospel. He desires that everyone hear how He saves us from eternal punishment for our sins and forgives us, and Paul reminds us in Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Jesus sent them, and us too, into the world where we live to tell others the good news of Christ. We have to speak out and speak up for Jesus.
Who will you joyfully tell today?
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have faith in resurrection too. Paul writes on the importance of believing in the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. “12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.” Paul is making the argument that if we do not believe in resurrection, life after death, then we can’t believe Christ was raised either. “15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.” He continues that if we don’t believe in the resurrection then all the people who saw Jesus (like 500 plus) were liars but the most horrific consequence of not believing in Jesus’ resurrection is that we are still in our sins, no forgiveness or redemption has occurred. Jesus has to conquer death and sin to redeem us. “ 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” If Christ did not conquer the grave, we are to be pitied and we are lost! Paul makes his conclusion in verse 20a, “20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.” Praise God! Death could not hold him and Jesus rose victorious over death, leaving our sins behind and rising to new life. We too can hold that hope as Christ has won the victory for all who believe!
Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday! As the early Christians would greet one another to show they believed saying, “He has Risen.” With the response being, “He has risen indeed!”
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been justified. Justified is one of those theological words that float around with salvation, redemption and redeemed in our minds. Scripture teaches that we are justified or declared ‘not guilty’ because of the work of Jesus on the cross. Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” We are sinners one and all and have no way of approaching God except through God’s grace and mercy shown to us in Jesus. God sent Jesus to redeem us, pay the penalty for our sins, and declare us ‘not guilty’ before Him. It is truly a magnificent gift!
Paul goes on to say in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Being declared ‘not guilty’ brings peace and hope into our lives. Paul went on to explain that justification in and through Christ is ours as a gift not something we ‘earn’ by good works or being good. He told the Galatians in 2:16 “ yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
We can rest in our faith in Jesus that it is enough, totally sufficient, for redemption. It cannot be earned but is a free gift from Him. Thank you Jesus!
Suggestion: Think of someone that you need to forgive and just do it! Pray and ask Jesus help you let go of bitterness, anger or hatred for this person. Let it go in His name. See how free you feel.
Lenten Sunday’s are a time apart to get recharged and worship our Savior. These last weeks I have been studying King David’s life and was brought to my knees by Psalm 51. David wrote this psalm after his great sin with Bathsheba and the ordering of the death of Uriah, her husband. David’s confession is real, heartfelt and gives us hope that God can indeed forgive all our sins and restore us. Be restored and seek God’s forgiveness as you meditate. Psalm 51: 1-4, 10-12, 17
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
David acknowledges his sin and knows God can forgive and wash him clean.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
David knows God can restore, renew and bring joy where there was sorrow over sin.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
David’s humbly offers God is his broken and sorrowful heart.
Prayer: May it be so with me too. Forgive my sins and create in me a new restored, resolved and committed heart to serve you. Amen.
Suggestion: attend a worship service really focusing on the praise and worship of God, so that you can soak in His restoring power.
Being a blessed believer I’ve discovered has many layers. I began weeks ago with a definition of what blessing is in man’s eyes: a gift of divine favor, good wishes or approval, anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune. Then I looked at scripture to see what God calls blessedness. All of God’s examples show divine favor towards us and His divine ways of having His blessings in our lives. Which ones have you seen, are seeing or hope to see in your life? When you do- you can count yourself blessed!
Blessed is the believer who: walks in His ways. Psalm 1 *whose’s sins are forgiven. Psalm 32:1-2 *who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8 *who trusts in the Lord. Psalm 40:4 *who wisely listens, obeys and accepts the Father’s discipline and instruction Psalm 94:12 *who fears (reveres) the Lord and delights in His Commandments. Psalm 112:1 *who is blessed through his children (physical or spiritual). Psalm 127:5 *who fears God and walks in His ways. Psalm 128:1-2 *who does what is right based in His righteousness. Isaiah 56:1-2 *who is deep rooted in Him, standing firm in all seasons of life. Jeremiah 17:4 *whose sins are forgiven, dependent upon God for His righteousness in Christ. Romans 4:6-8 *who is steadfast, persevering and awaiting reward. James 1:12 *who is humble, sorrows over his sin and dependent upon God for forgiveness, hungers after God’s Word, merciful, has a clean heart before God, is a peacemaker, is persecuted for His sake. Matthew 5:3-10
What a list to take to heart and meditate upon. If you are not seeing some of the blessings God provides for believers, take that to heart, pray about it, search scripture and ask God what He would have you do so that you might partake in His divine blessings!
When we think about blessings and what it means to be blessed, one of the first things that comes into the mind of the believer is salvation. Truly being spared the wrath of God in judgement and being able to live with Him forever in heaven is a BIG blessing. Scripture tell us exactly that in Psalm 32:1-2.
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
We are spared from the wrath of God (God’s anger over sin) because Jesus came, died on the cross and rose again so that we could be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10-12) His blood provides the atonement for our sins as He covers us so that when God looks at the believer He sees Jesus’ atoning blood not our sin. “God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy.” Romans 3:25 We are forgiven and God promises to not hold our sins against us. I love these verses in Micah about God, His forgiveness and the fact that He casts my sins into the depths of the sea. Praise God once confessed, our sins are gone forever! Micah 7:8-10
Lord, who is a God like you?
You forgive sin.
You forgive your people
when they do what is wrong.
You don’t stay angry forever.
Instead, you take delight in showing
your faithful love to them.
19 Once again you will show loving concern for us.
You will completely wipe out
the evil things we’ve done.
You will throw all our sins
into the bottom of the sea.
How blessed am I? Because of Jesus and His sacrifice, God forgives my sin and casts it into the depths of the sea. Because of Jesus, I can continue to walk with Him each day and have His light to shine for others. 1 John 1:6-7 puts it this way. “Suppose we say that we share life with God but still walk in the darkness. Then we are lying. We are not living out the truth. 7 But suppose we walk in the light, just as he is in the light. Then we share life with one another. And the blood of Jesus, his Son, makes us pure from all sin.”
May your day be filled with joy as you reflect on your treasured state of being- forgiven, all your sins are gone out of God’s sight forever, you are able to walk with Jesus in His light each day and saved for eternity. Now there are eternal blessings we can count upon!