April 28, 2016
After the Sabbath, several women went early in the morning to the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body. On the way, they worried about who might move the large stone, so they could gain entrance (Mark 16:3). Yet, when they arrived at the tomb they were surprised to find that the stone was already rolled away. Matthew’s gospel reported that an angel had moved the stone (Matt.28:2). But why? Did the Lord need help getting out? Certainly not. He that could overcome death and the grave needed no help moving a stone. Besides, as John’s gospel reported, the resurrected Jesus had no need of doors anymore (John 20:19). No, the stone wasn’t moved for Jesus. It was moved for the women. It was moved, so that they might bear witness to the empty tomb. God moved the stone that they might believe that Jesus was risen just as He said.
April 26, 2016
When the Jewish council questioned Jesus concerning whether he was the Christ, they did so not to determine the truth of his identity, but to gain a confession that would justify their desire to kill him. Yet, Jesus responded by describing their real motivation. Their agnostic questions weren’t motivated by a desire to discover the truth, but were from a heart that had already rejected Christ. He knew that they “would not” believe any of his claims, nor honestly answer any of his questions. Their unbelief was an act of the will, not the result of intellectual inquiry. He told them, “You will not believe.” How have you responded to Christ’s claims? How have you answered the question concerning Him? As Jesus asked Martha, so He asks us, “Do you believe?”
April 25, 2016
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus quoted the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 to prepare the disciples for His crucifixion. He who knew no sin, would be “numbered” or counted among the sinners. And He would allow this accounting to take place willingly, so that those who believed in Him might be numbered among the righteous.
April 24, 2016
The Lord addressed him as, “Simon, Simon,” not as “Peter,” for he would not yet be the “Rock” until after Christ’s resurrection. Simon Peter meant well, but in his flesh he had no power to live up to the new name Jesus had given him. Christ repeated the name “Simon” twice, probably to emphasize both His tender affection for Peter as well as His warning to him (See Luke 10:41 – “Martha, Martha.” Ex. 3:4 -“Moses, Moses;” or Gen. 22:11 – “Abraham, Abraham.”). Jesus was already shifting from His physical role as the Shepherd protecting Peter and the disciples, to His role as Advocate, praying and representing them before the Father (1 John 2:1). Jesus was preparing Peter for the trial and temptation that awaited him and the disciples. For Satan had asked to “sift” Simon Peter, just as he had Job, to test whether he truly had the “wheat” of faith, or was merely voicing the bravado of the “chaff” of the flesh. That Jesus was so mindful of Peter and His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion shows both His great love for them as well as His divine plan to see them carry the gospel to the nations. Have you heard the Lord repeat your name twice?
April 23, 2016
When Jesus told Peter and John to go and prepare the Passover, they asked, “Where?” Jesus didn’t respond with an address, but with a set of circumstances and a person. He told them that they would meet a man carrying a jar of water as they entered Jerusalem and that they should follow him to the place. He even told them what to ask when they got there.
Have you ever experienced this kind of direction and help from the Lord? Peter and John were ready to obey, but needed direction. Sometimes we are ready to obey, but we don’t pause to ask the Lord for help. We come up with our own plans, rather than asking the Lord for where He wants us to go. What joy to hear the Lord’s voice saying, “Follow the man with the water jar!”
April 22, 2016
The disciples had been talking about the beauty and grandeur of Jerusalem, when Jesus interrupted them to say, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Luke 21:6).
This must have been a troubling prophecy for the disciples to hear, so they asked for more specifics. Jesus offered many details about signs and times, not only of Jerusalem’s destruction, but also of His future return and time of redemption. Within His prophetic response, there was the mention not only of Jerusalem’s destruction, but also the hope of its future return to the Jews. Jesus described this season as the “times of the Gentiles” that would some day be “fulfilled,” or finished. In fact, Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem came true in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the city. And it wasn’t until the Six Day War of 1967 that Jerusalem again came under Jewish rule again. Nineteen hundred years passed before Jerusalem again belonged to the Jews. Regardless of one’s eschatology, the reality of these historical facts gives one much to ponder. Can it be much longer before the rest of Christ’s predictions come true? Are we the generation that will see the return of Christ?