May 8, 2017
An hour is coming when the resurrecting life of Jesus will raise all of humanity bodily. The resurrection of the body is both the hope and the dread of the Christian faith. For the “voice” of Christ will call and all will “come forth” just as Lazarus did. Those who have believed in Jesus will be raised to eternal life with Him. But those who have not believed will be raised to “condemnation,” which is the judgement of God already passed against them because of their sin.
The resurrection of the righteous will come first, preceding the resurrection of the condemned. There is much more on this in the Scriptures, yet this point is to be understood: The resurrection of the body is central to Christ’s teaching. This is not to be understood as a metaphor, but a reality. Christ taught the resurrection of the dead, then He proved it by being raised from the dead on the third day.
May 6, 2017
The gospel of John recorded seven “signs” of Jesus. These were miracles, yet John chose to call them “signs” because he wanted to emphasize their purpose, namely, that they pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.
John wrote, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).
John wanted his readers to take their eyes off of the miracles and put them on the Miracle-worker, Jesus. In this second sign, Jesus healed the nobleman’s son in Cana without even going to see him. He healed him with a word. And the nobleman, an officer of the king, believed in Jesus as his true King from that day forward.
June 2, 2016
After Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to his disciples many times. On one occasion he asked Peter three times whether he loved him. Certainly this was connected to Peter’s denying Jesus three times before his crucifixion. In this manner Jesus helped restore their relationship, giving Peter the opportunity to renew his pledge of love, even reminding him of his earlier promise that he was willing to die for Jesus. When we make a commitment to Jesus, as Peter learned, he helps us to keep it. Jesus loved us first and it is His love that enables us to commit to love him back. Coincidently, this OYB reading falls on June 2nd, my wedding anniversary. On this day 37 years ago, Robin and I committed to love one another until death do us part. The Lord has blessed us by helping us keep that commitment to Him and to one another, and to grow even more in love as the years have passed. Jesus still asks His followers, “Do you love me?” It’s a question of relationship, not religion. It’s an invitation to commit your life to the One who is Love itself.
June 1, 2016
Thomas didn’t see the risen Jesus when he first appeared. Even though Thomas had followed Jesus as one of the Twelve, he still doubted until he saw the risen Lord for himself. When the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, his confession of faith was to ascribe divinity to Jesus. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and God. It was Jesus who addressed Thomas’ agnosticism. He invited Thomas to see and touch and believe. It was Jesus who helped Thomas with his unbelief. Where are you doubting the Lord today? Wherever you are still worried and troubled, in that very area, you are still doubting Christ’s Lordship, in that very area you are in a state of unbelief. Confess your unbelief to Jesus. Declare him Lord over the arena of your anxiety saying, “I trust in you Jesus, for you are my Lord and my God!”
May 31, 2016
The final words of Jesus on the cross were not words of defeat, but of ultimate victory. He shouted, “It is finished!” His last words expressed exultation at accomplishing the task He had come to complete. In the Greek, it is one word: Τετέλεσται (Tetelestai), which is in the perfect tense. The basic thought of the perfect tense is that the progress of an action has been completed and the results of the action are continuing on, in full effect. In other words, the progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence. It might also be translated: “fulfilled, accomplished, paid-in-full.” Essentially, Jesus, with this one word, “tetelestai,” announced that He had accomplished His God-given mission, fulfilling every prophetic detail, and paid-in-full the price for our sins, so that we might be forgiven and receive eternal life. His salvation work is complete and its finished results are even now in existence for those who would believe on Him.