Jul 28, 2006
Combining clips from “The Passion Of The Christ” with the song “The Lamb” by Low—I made this video to set the tone for a Good Friday service where we focused on the short time between Christ’s death and his resurrection. What must those dark hours have been like for his followers until they saw him again alive?
This is Holy Week for Eastern Orthodox Christians
After that, He appeared in another form to two of them… —Mark 16:12
Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing. Many people who have never seen Jesus have received and share in God’s grace. But once you have seen Him, you can never be the same. Other things will not have the appeal they did before.
You should always recognize the difference between what you see Jesus to be and what He has done for you. If you see only what He has done for you, your God is not big enough. But if you have had a vision, seeing Jesus as He really is, experiences can come and go, yet you will endure “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). The man who was blind from birth did not know who Jesus was until Christ appeared and revealed Himself to him (see John 9). Jesus appears to those for whom He has done something, but we cannot order or predict when He will come. He may appear suddenly, at any turn. Then you can exclaim, “Now I see Him!” (see John 9:25).
Jesus must appear to you and to your friend individually; no one can see Jesus with your eyes. And division takes place when one has seen Him and the other has not. You cannot bring your friend to the point of seeing; God must do it. Have you seen Jesus? If so, you will want others to see Him too. “And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either” (Mark 16:13). When you see Him, you must tell, even if they don’t believe.
O could I tell, you surely would believe it!
O could I only say what I have seen!
How should I tell or how can you receive it,
How, till He bringeth you where I have been?
By Oswald Chambers
Today’s passage paints a popular picture of the Lord’s blessing. We read that and assume, If I just listen and obey God, He will give me more and more. We tend to think of blessings as new benefits the Lord gives us to enjoy.
We might praise God for a salary increase. We may thank Him for a new relationship. In our minds, the term blessing has become synonymous with gift, hasn’t it?
Many believers may be surprised to hear that God often blesses us by taking things away. They think, What? How can God benefit me by giving me less of what I enjoy?
This way of thinking reveals a problem of pride. It’s easy to assume we know what’s best for ourselves. Our logical conclusion is, If I enjoy something, then it must be good and proper. As such, the Lord’s blessing should give me more of that, right?
Wrong. God brings things into our lives that He knows will bless us. Our shortsighted perspective keeps us from seeing the whole picture, but He sees all from beginning to end. He knows whether a particular relationship or more money would ultimately be a blessing or a curse. In some situations, the best thing He can “give” is to take something away.
The Lord isn’t a cosmic Santa Claus. Sometimes, in His wisdom, He chooses to “bless with less.” Can you remember a particular disappointment that caused you to question whether He was acting in your best interest? With time and perspective, can you now see God’s loving care for you in taking something away?
“[God] hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:2)
The unique divine Sonship of Jesus Christ is emphasized here in Hebrews 1. The above text, for example, introduces the Son as the Creator, then as the revealing Word, and finally as the appointed heir of all things.
This chapter also demonstrates that God’s Son was recognized even in the Old Testament. Verse 5 quotes Psalm 2:7: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” and 1 Chronicles 17:13: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” That this Son is none other than God Himself is confirmed in verse 8, quoting Psalm 45:6: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” That He is the Creator is asserted in verse 10 referring to Psalm 102:25: “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth.” That He is now at God’s own throne is stressed in verse 13, citing Psalm 110:1: “Sit on my right hand.” Thus, He is to be worshipped as God. “Let all the angels of God worship him” (verse 6, taken from Psalm 97:7).
Furthermore, Hebrews 1 notes a manifold description of the meaning of the divine Sonship. He is Son of God by eternal generation, as the “brightness [or ‘out-radiating’] of his glory, and the express image of his person” (v. 3). He is Son of God by miraculous conception (v. 5), also quoted in Acts 13:33 (note Romans 1:4) as referring to His Sonship by bodily resurrection. Verse 6 refers to the divine proclamation of the Sonship (also Matthew 3:17; 17:5). Verses 8 and 9 stress the testimony of His uniquely holy nature. “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” Finally, as the Son, He is promised universal inheritance from His Father (vv. 9, 13). From eternity to eternity, Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son! And yet God “gave his only begotten Son” that we might have everlasting life! (John 3:16). HMM
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. —Acts 6:3
Let us watch that we do not slide imperceptibly to a state where the women do the praying and the men run the churches. Men who do not pray have no right to direct church affairs. We believe in the leadership of men within the spiritual community of the saints, but that leadership should be won by spiritual worth. Leadership requires vision, and whence will vision come except from hours spent in the presence of God in humble and fervent prayer? All things else being equal, a praying woman will know the will of God for the church far better than a prayerless man.
We do not here advocate the turning of the churches over to the women, but we do advocate a recognition of proper spiritual qualifications for leadership among the men if they are to continue to decide the direction the churches shall take. The accident of being a man is not enough. Spiritual manhood alone qualifies.
Lord, don’t ever let me have leadership that I don’t deserve. Don’t ever let me become careless in prayer. Don’t ever let me rely on the women to pray while I lead. Amen.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3
Let a man become enamored of Eternal Wisdom and set his heart to win her and he takes on himself a full-time, all-engaging pursuit! Thereafter his whole life will be filled with seekings and findings, self-repudiations, tough disciplines and daily dyings as he is being crucified unto the world and the world unto him.
The regenerated man has been inwardly separated from society as Israel was separated from Egypt at the crossing of the Red Sea. The Christian is a man of heaven temporarily living on earth. Though in spirit divided from the race of fallen men he must yet in the flesh live among them. In many things he is like them but in others he differs so radically from them that they cannot but see and resent it.
From the days of Cain and Abel the man of earth has punished the man of heaven for being different. The long history of persecution and martyrdom confirms this.
But, we must not get the impression that the Christian life is one of continuous conflict, one unbroken irritating struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.
A thousand times no!
The heart that learns to die with Christ soon knows the blessed experience of rising with Him, and all the world’s persecutions cannot still the high note of holy joy that springs up in the soul that has become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit!
And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. MATTHEW 28:20
Men without God suffer alone and die alone in times of war and in other circumstances of life. All alone!
But it can never be said that any true soldier of the cross of Jesus Christ, no man or woman as missionary or messenger of the Truth has ever gone out to a ministry alone!
There have been many Christian martyrs—but not one of them was on that mission field all alone. Jesus Christ keeps His promise of taking them by the hand and leading them triumphantly through to the world beyond.
We can sum it up by noting that Jesus Christ asks us only to surrender to His lordship and obey His commands. When the Spirit of God deals with our young people about their own missionary responsibility, Christ assures them of His
presence and power as they prepare to go: “All power is given unto Me! I am no longer in the grave. I will protect you. I will support you. I will go ahead of you. I will give you effectiveness for your witness and ministry. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations—I will never leave you nor forsake you!”
Thank You, Lord, that You are very near to me and my loved ones at all times.