Reflection on John 20:19-31

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20.19-31

Scripture

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Observation

The evening of Easter Sunday, the disciples are meeting behind locked doors, Jesus appears in their midst, showing them His hands and side to confirm it is Him. Jesus then breathes on them to impart the Holy Spirit.

Thomas isn’t there at the time and so He refuses to believe that Jesus is alive. A week later Jesus again appears to the disciples. He invites Thomas to touch His wounds, but Thomas answers, “My Lord and my God!”

Application

Thomas is often described as the “Doubter”, but who can blame him for being sceptical about an event that seemed too good to be true?

What is often overlooked is his passionate heart-felt response to the appearance of Jesus. “My Lord and my God!”

The other disciples rejoiced to see the risen Lord, but Thomas proclaims that He is Lord and God.

Rejoicing at the presence of the Lord is an appropriate response. I love a powerful worship time. I revel in hose personal times when Jesus seems so tangibly present.

But we don’t live only on experience.

There were lots of people partying in the presence of the Lord on Palm Sunday, but very few stood with Him on Good Friday. Many people are happy to celebrate Christ but it takes the confession and conviction, “My Lord and my God!”, to make a true disciple.

To say Jesus is God means that we recognise that He is more than a man. He is God with us,

To say Jesus is Lord is to give Him the right to direct every part of our lives. We are here to serve Him, not the other way around. Every part of my thinking, speaking and doing must be surrendered to God.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, I declare that you are God and Lord . I surrender all that I am into your hands, and I rejoice that you are always with me. Amen.

Easter Sermon

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The sermon for Easter Sunday is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon which is based on Matthew 28 and Colossians 3:1-4, I talk about the glory of Christ which is in us through the resurrection.

Click here to listen on your browser, or here to download the mp3

3 Reasons to Not Believe

Some satire from “The Babylon Bee”

Here Are 3 Totally Solid Reasons To Believe Jesus Came Back From The Dead, But I Don’t Believe Them Because I’m Not A Weak-Minded Moron

 

It’s that time of year again—sheeple everywhere are celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. Religious simpletons who choose to regurgitate the blind faith their parents hammered into their skulls when they were children are gathering in church buildings and worshiping their magic sky fairy who has “come back from the dead.”

It’s interesting that the Christian religion sort of hinges on this event, and I’ll admit that there are a number of reasons why it actually makes sense to believe that the resurrection of Christ is a historical fact. I would probably even believe it myself, if I were a low-brow, dunderheaded flat-earther.

Well, just for fun on this Easter weekend, I thought I’d go over a few of these rationales. So here are three totally solid reasons to believe Jesus came back from the dead, which I don’t believe because I’m not a weak-minded moron.

1.) The tomb was empty. Jesus was publicly executed and laid in a guarded tomb in the city of Jerusalem. I mean, these are verifiable things that played out in front of people, you know? And with so many authority figures viciously opposed to Jesus, the entire Christianity thing could’ve been squashed right off the bat—all they had to do was produce his dead body (which, you better believe, they tried to do). But nobody could, because his body was gone. The empty tomb is quite a convincing reason to believe in the resurrection, but I never will because I’m not a mentally challenged dolt.

2.) He appeared to lots of people after his death. So tons of people claimed to have encountered the resurrected Jesus. Which is crazy. The Apostle Paul was one of them—and he gave up his enviable life of privilege in exchange for imprisonment, beatings, stonings, starvation, shipwrecks, and traveling thousands of miles to tell people that Jesus had come back from the dead, before being executed. Which would be weird for him to go through if he were just making it all up. And the disciples of Jesus—they all claimed to have encountered the back-from-the-dead Jesus. And they all maintained his resurrection as truth, all the way to their bloody, torturous deaths for claiming so. Which again, you know, wow. They literally could’ve stopped being tortured in horrific ways by denying that Jesus was risen. That’s a legit reason to believe that they were not actually lying, and they had actually seen the resurrected Christ with their own eyes and knew he was Lord and Savior, but I just can’t accept that because I’m not a feeble-minded, Bible-thumping robot.

3.) Christianity totally exploded. Jesus’s death should’ve killed Christianity, you know? Like, OK, no more Jesus, no more Christianity. Seems simple. Especially in that place and time—that population was staunchly opposed to the idea that people came back from the dead, and the idea of worshiping a man, to them, would have been the lowest form of blasphemy. But what happened? Well, starting from the place Jesus was crucified—which is the same place tons of people started claiming he had risen from the dead—Christianity exploded and believers were multiplied exponentially. Now if you think about it, the only thing that can really account for that would be the hundreds, or even thousands of people who told everyone they knew that they had literally seen the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes, and were willing to risk any form of punishment rather than deny what they had seen and knew as truth. Seriously, guys, think about that. I’m so glad I’m not a religulous, room-temperature-IQ-having buffoon, because If I were, I totally might believe that. But then I would be an emotional-crutch-needing dimwit. And people might make fun of me.

So there you have it. Those three reasons are pretty legit, are they not? Told you. They’re super-solid. I feel sorry for you lunkheads who take them to heart. You’re laughably weak-minded and unintelligent. I, on the other hand, am neither—which is why I don’t believe them.

I’m so glad I’m not a brainwashed half-wit, otherwise I’d probably believe all of this sound evidence.

Reflection on Colossians 3:1-4

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+3.1-4

Scripture

When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Observation

We who are born again have died in Christ and are raised with Him. Because Christ is above, that is where our desires and affections must be.

I have died and am now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ is revealed in glory, I will also be revealed with Him in glory.

Application

We live in a materialistic culture, and everything is about what can be seen or touched. Consequently, we tend to think of eternity as pretty much like this life. We just cannot imagine what heaven must be like.

Paul tells us that we who are born again are born to a higher level of existence. At the moment our true nature is hidden with Christ, but when Christ’s glory is revealed to the world, we will also be revealed.

We are not ordinary people although we look like ordinary people. We are children of glory awaiting our transformation and unveiling.

We have an eternal destiny. We will rule over angels and all created beings. We will share in the glory and majesty of Christ.

We are the ones who have recognised the truth of the gospel. We are the ones who have joined ourselves to Christ, saying “Yes” to his offer of salvation. We are the ones who will overcome and stand firm in Him until the end.

Having passed through all the temptations and trials of this life we will be raised up with Christ to share His glory.

For this reason we must live as people of destiny. As Paul says, we must set our minds on what is above. This is what we were created and saved for.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for the destiny, the glory that awaits me in you. Thank you for dying on the cross to set me free from sin and death. Thank you for the assurance that I will share in your resurrection. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 10:34-43

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10.34-43

Scripture

They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised Him to life on the third day.”

Observation

Peter is testifying at the house of Cornelius. He says that God accepts those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. There is peace with God through Jesus Christ.

God anointed Jesus with Holy Spirit and with power. Jesus went around doing good and healing all. Men crucified Jesus, but God raised Him to life. He ordered His disciples to testify everywhere that Jesus is the one appointed to judge all people, the one the prophets foresaw who would bring forgiveness to all who believe in Him.

Application

This week is called Holy Week in some churches. It is the week we spend particularly contemplating the Easter message. Men killed Christ by nailing Him to a cross, but God raised Him from the dead.

It wasn’t the Roman soldiers who nailed Jesus to the the cross. That blame is shared by everyone who ever sinned. That includes me.

My sins took Jesus to the cross, but God demonstrated His love by raising Him from the dead.

That simple phrase, “But God” is such a powerful reminder of the power of God’s grace.

  • Jesus was dead in the tomb, but God raise Him to life

  • I was lost in my sins, but God forgave me

  • I was headed for Hell but God rescued me and put me on the path to heaven.

  • I was sick but God healed me.

What an awesome God!

God loved the world enough to heap up all the sins that people have ever committed and dump them on Jesus on the cross. Then He showed us that sin no longer has any power to bind us by raising Christ from the dead.

All my sins are gone because of Calvary.

The greatest part of this is that we don’t have to be perfect, or even good, to qualify. God’s forgiveness is here for everyone who receives the gift.

Prayer

Thank you Lord Jesus for dying for me. Now help me to live for you. Amen.