Tag Archives: Death

Jesus Came Forward

Jesus' arrest.jpg

So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees went there with weapons and torches.  Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward, and said to them, “what do you seek?”  John 18:3-4

In reading Greg Morse’s blog on April 12, 2017 from “Desiring God,” I was struck with these thoughts:

Jesus had just finished His final words with the disciples in the Upper Room and the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as His big prayer with the Father.  “He knew His hour had come,” as John 13:1 states.  For most of the last three years Jesus had been saying, “My hour has not come,” like in John 2:4 and John 7:6, 8.  Judas brought the band of soldiers to arrest Him.  Jesus knew the Old Testament, so He knew what was going to happen.  Isaiah 53 could have been playing in the background.

Jesus was fully human (a mystery) and knowing what was ahead, He still came forward.  In the Garden He had prayed, “Father if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done,” from Luke 22:42.  In verse 44 we find that “He prayed so earnestly that His sweat became like great drops of blood falling on the ground.”  Jesus knew that He was going to be the Passover lamb and that,  in taking on the sin of the world, He would be separated from the Father.

Yet He came forward.  I would want to either hide or to fight.  Not Jesus.

  • He came forward with boldness. “‘Whom do you seek?’  They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’”  John 18:4-5
  • He came forward willingly: “No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down on My own accord.”  John 10:18
  • He came forward doggedly: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God.”  Hebrews 12:2
  • He came forward at the right time: “For while we were weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Romans 5:6
  • He came forward for us: “Since therefore we have been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:9-10
  • He came forward in love: “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:10

In light of this, it is our time to come forward:

  • To no longer live for ourselves: “Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…for the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that One has died for all…that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised…therefore we are ambassadors for Christ.”  2 Corinthians 5:11-20
  • To deny ourselves and to be bold for Jesus: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny Himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever would save His life would lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in glory.   Luke 9:23-26
  • To proclaim His excellencies: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

*Photo from lds.org


Being United With Jesus

carrying crossThat I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.   Philippians 3:10

If you marry someone, you take on the other person’s life.  You adapt to your spouse’s work, sleep, and eating  patterns.  The more time you spend together, the more you take on each other’s personalities and preferences.  Now think about that marriage union in regards to us being “in Christ.”  It is a union that glues us together with Jesus and brings us multiple benefits, such as the ones listed out in Ephesians 1–being adopted, chosen, redeemed, lavished with God’s grace and being sealed by the Spirit for redemption until the end of time.  May I understand and know these benefits of my salvation.  Open my eyes, God.

We also get the power of His resurrection.  Paul wrote about that in Ephesians 1:19 when he prayed that we would know God’s incomparably great power that rose Jesus from the dead and utilize it because that power is working for us.  In Ephesians 3:20 Paul again prayed, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think according to His power that is at work in us.”  May I know that power and see it at work in and through me.  Show me Your power, God.

But then Paul takes a turn away from the “bless me Lord,” portion of our Christian life.  It is about sharing in His sufferings and becoming like Him in His death.  Oh no, wait a minute!  Do I want that in this marriage union with Him?  In Mark 14:50 it says that, just as Jesus was being arrested, “everyone deserted Him and fled.”  Then Paul, in 2 Timothy 4:16, says the same thing:  “ At my first trial no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me.”  He shared in Jesus’ sufferings and death, just like he prayed.

Would you be so bold as to pray, “Lord, I want to complete my union with You by suffering for You”?  That is is where we find God’s resurrection power–through death to self.  John 12:24 says it: “ Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone.  But if  it dies it bears much fruit.”  How do we do this?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Endure hardship, harsh treatment, rejection and scorn for the sake of Jesus’ name.  Don’t stay silent because you might get grief for it.  Do this joyfully and willingly.
  • Die daily, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31.  Die to flesh, die to self, die to your own ambitions and agenda, die to self absorption and self promotion–and then present yourself to God to live for Him, humbly seeking His will each day, and obeying HIs voice.
  • In Luke 23:18 the crowd yelled out “Give us Barabbas!” in exchange for Jesus.  Yell out each day to God, “Give me Jesus!”  Don’t exchange the hard way for the easy one.

Work Your death in me, O God that I might know your life.


The Resurrection and the Life

resurrection-and-life

John 11:25-26

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?

 

 

Jesus was proclaiming another one of His “I am” statements about who He is.  He had already told His listeners that He is ‘the light of the world,’ ‘the bread of life,’ ‘the good shepherd,’  and ‘the door.’  He also said in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.”  In Exodus 3:14, when Moses saw the burning bush and wanted to know who was sending him back to Egypt.  God answered, “I am that I am.”  And tell them ‘I am’ sent you.  Jesus was proclaiming His eternal nature  and revealing that He is God in His “I am” declarations.

Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life” to one of His close friends, Martha.  Lazarus was dead and they were all grieving, wondering why Jesus didn’t come in time to heal their brother.  Lazarus had been in the tomb four days, so in Martha and Mary’s mind, it was over.  But not in Jesus’.  He proclaimed that whoever believes in Him would live, and Martha said she believed that, but knew it would be “on the last day.”  That doesn’t help now.

But Jesus had something up His sleeve.  Jesus wasn’t going to just proclaim that He is the Lord of life and death, He was going to show it.  And then Jesus did the unthinkable: He opened the tomb and called “Lazarus, come forth” and out he came.  They didn’t have to wait for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection to know that He really held the keys to life.

When you’re sitting at a funeral, remember these words.  Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  If we believe in Him, death isn’t the end.  Actually it’s just the beginning of eternal life in perfect Heaven.  Best of all, it is with Jesus.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that when we are absent from the body we are home with the Lord.  Those who do not know Jesus do not have this promise.  They await an entirely different fate.

If you believe in Jesus, take comfort.  It will be a quick transition from this life to our next one in Heaven.  Also, if you believe in Jesus, make it your goal to tell as many people as you can about the absolute necessity of trusting in Jesus in order to see eternal life in Heaven.