“The Son of Man will die, just as the Scriptures say.” MATTHEW 26:24
God’s greatest blessings often come costumed as disasters. Any doubters need to do nothing more than ascend the hill of Calvary. Jerusalem’s collective opinion that Friday was this: Jesus is finished. What other conclusion made sense? The religious leaders had turned him in. Rome had refused to bail him out. His followers had tucked their tails and scattered. He was nailed to a cross and left to die, which he did. They silenced his lips, sealed his tomb, and, as any priest worth the price of a phylactery would tell you, Jesus is history. Three years of power and promises are decomposing in a borrowed grave. Search the crucifixion sky for one ray of hope, and you won’t find it.
Such is the view of the disciples, the opinion of the friends, and the outlook of the enemies.
But God is not surprised. His plan is right on schedule. Even in—especially in—death, Christ is still the king, the king over his own crucifixion.
from NEXT DOOR SAVIOR
Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God’s love is not living in that person. 1 JOHN 3:17
Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian writer, tells of the time he was walking down the street and passed a beggar. Tolstoy reached into his pocket to give the beggar some money, but his pocket was empty. Tolstoy turned to the man and said, “I’m sorry, my brother, but I have nothing to give.”
The beggar brightened and said, “You have given me more than I asked for—you have called me brother.”
To the loved, a word of affection is a morsel, but to the love-starved, a word of affection can be a feast.
He Still Moves Stones
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2)
As Christ emphasized in His parable of the vine and the branches, it is vitally important for a Christian to bear fruit. There are, in fact, many types of spiritual fruit mentioned in Scripture.
Perhaps the most important fruit, produced in one’s life by the Holy Spirit, is that of a Christlike character. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9).
Holiness–the seal of a life dedicated to God–is a particular spiritual fruit. “Being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness” (Romans 6:22) and are “filled with the fruits of righteousness” (Philippians 1:11). This entails also the fruit of good works performed in the name of Christ, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work” (Colossians 1:10).
The habit of giving thanks and praise rather than complaint and criticism is a valuable Christian fruit. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15). Generosity is another important fruit. Paul commended the sacrificial giving of the Philippians: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17).
Finally, one vital fruit of a Christian witness is fruit borne in other Christians’ lives. Paul’s great desire was “that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles” (Romans 1:13).
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.