VIDEO Christ is in the Passover

Dec 14, 2010

Christ in the Passover shows the link between the ancient Festival of Redemption and Christ as the Lamb of God—your church members will never forget it! This sermonic demonstration is visual, so the congregation will actually see a table set with traditional Passover items. The missionary uses Scripture as well as the visual items to walk through a Jewish Passover seder, weaving the story of the Exodus together with the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The words He spoke in the upper room come alive as each Hebraic item is carefully explained. Many churches finish this powerful presentation by celebrating communion, and most who have tell us that Christ in the Passover has deepened their church’s communion experience.

Why Forgive?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34

When a friend betrayed me, I knew I would need to forgive her, but I wasn’t sure that I could. Her words pierced deeply inside me, and I felt stunned with pain and anger. Although we talked about it and I told her I forgave her, for a long time whenever I’d see her I felt tinges of hurt, so I knew I still clung to some resentment. One day, however, God answered my prayers and gave me the ability to let go completely. I was finally free.

Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith, with our Savior extending forgiveness even when He was dying on the cross. Jesus loved those who had nailed Him there, uttering a prayer asking His Father to forgive them. He didn’t hang on to bitterness or anger, but showed grace and love to those who had wronged Him.

Even on the cross, Jesus forgave those who hurt Him.

This is a fitting time to consider before the Lord any people we might need to forgive as we follow Jesus’s example in extending His love to those who hurt us. When we ask God through His Spirit to help us forgive, He will come to our aid—even if we take what we think is a long time to forgive. When we do, we are freed from the prison of unforgiveness.

Lord Jesus Christ, through Your grace and power as You dwell in me, help me to forgive, that Your love will set me free.

Read more about forgiveness at discoveryseries.org/hp071.

Even on the cross, Jesus forgave those who hurt Him.

INSIGHT:In the first century, the common attire for a Jewish man included five pieces of clothing—shoes, turban, belt, loincloth, and outer tunic. After crucifying Jesus, the soldiers divided the Savior’s garments as their spoils for performing the task. After each took a portion of clothing, one remained—the tunic. This infers that even the loincloth was taken—and Jesus’s last shred of human dignity with it.

In a heartbreaking fulfillment of David’s messianic song, they stripped Jesus naked and then gambled for the tunic. In Psalm 22:17–18, where crucifixion was prophetically described some 600 years before it was invented, David said it would be so: “All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” The soldiers gambled for all they could get, unaware of the fact that mere feet away Christ was freely forgiving and giving all He had out of love for them.

Through Troubled Waters

Psalm 25

In a blizzard, the familiar disappears because swirling snow obscures our vision. Difficulties bring about the same effect in our minds. They create strong emotions that cloud our ability to think. Thankfully, God has given us some promises to help us find our way through trials.

1. The Lord has committed Himself to instructing us. When we wait on Him, He will give us insight into our situation—since He sees all things, He knows what steps we are to take. We may be surprised at the instruction, though, since His ways are not like our human ones (Isa. 55:8-9). For example, when people hurt us badly, God’s Spirit will remind us that vengeance is the Lord’s; our part is to live at peace with them (Rom. 12:17-19).

2. God has promised to teach us how to apply the truth He has given us. As we meditate on the Word of God, His Spirit will reveal the relevance of Scripture to our problem. For example, let’s imagine we are faced with someone making a financial request that strikes us as unreasonable. How are we to respond? God may tell us to meet the need or even to give extra in order to bless that person (Matt. 5:40-41).

3. The Lord provides guidance as He keeps watch over us. When company is present, a parent may use a series of looks to quietly guide a child’s behavior, encourage, instruct, or warn. In a similar way, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual promptings to guide our actions and decisions.

What troubled waters are you trying to navigate? Find your way by using these promises as guiding lights through dark circumstances.

The Same Mind

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

The days of the early church were the days of its greatest power because they were days of its greatest unity. “They, continuing daily with one accord . . . and singleness of heart.” “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: . . . and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 2:46; 4:32-33). It was not long, however, before divisions, contentions, and schisms crept in. Therefore, the New Testament contains many exhortations toward a restoration of the unity—and thus the power—of the early church. Note the following examples.

“Be of the same mind one toward another” (Romans 12:16). “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God” (Romans 15:5-6). “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11). “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:2). “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8).

Real unity, of course, must be both “the unity of the Spirit” and “the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:3, 13), and “the same mind” must be nothing less than the mind of Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). HMM

“Make thy face to shine upon thy servant.”

Exodus 34:1-5, 28-35

In our present reading we shall see how the Lord reopened his communications with Israel, though their sin had abruptly broken up all the treaty engagements almost before they were ratified.

Exodus 34:1

Here let us learn that although man has broken the law of God, yet the Lord in infinite mercy to his people visits them again, causes their hearts to be hewn and prepared by his prophets and ministers, and then writes the law upon those fleshy tablets. The law in the heart is better than the law on stone.

Exodus 34:2

Moses must go up a second time and sojourn with the. Lord, and the people must thus be tried to see if they can wait upon God in their leader’s absence.

Exodus 34:3

Distance was always the rule of the law. Moses went up to God alone, but Jesus takes all his people with him.

Exodus 34:4

Note, that Moses, like other good men, was up betimes in the morning. Matthew Henry says, “the morning is as good a friend to the graces as it is to the muses.” God loves punctual servants.

Exodus 34:5

He declared the nature and the attributes of Jehovah.

Exodus 34:28

In being miraculously supported for forty days without food, Moses, as the law, is followed by Elijah, the chief of the prophets, and our Lord Jesus, in whom the gospel is revealed.

Exodus 34:29

After such long communion Moses came down enriched with the best treasure, and adorned with the best beauty. What he had seen was unconsciously reflected from him, as it always is from those who have had fellowship with God.

Exodus 34:30

Everybody could see the brightness of Moses face except himself; and the same may be said of the man who communes with God.

Exodus 34:33

In this he was unlike most men, for they are usually far too ready to show their brightness to everybody, coveting admiration. Modesty dwells with true excellence.

Exodus 34:34

Before God we must be all unveiled. All things are open before him.

Exodus 34:34

God’s ministers may learn here their only theme.

 

Lord, from thy burning throne on high,

Thy law comes forth in majesty;

Its glory shines with beams so bright,

No mortal can sustain the sight.

 

But through thy Son, th’ incarnate God,

Thy milder radiance shines abroad;

His flesh becomes the Godhead’s veil,

And beams of grace and love prevail.

 

Twelve Legions of Angels

Matthew 26:53

How much strength do you think one angel possesses? Today I’d like for us to consider the full impact of Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:53, where He said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

Let’s look at three questions:

  • What is a “legion”?
  • How many angels would there be in twelve legions?
  • What would be the combined strength of this number of angels?

It is important to know the answers to these questions, because the answers reveal the full might that was available to Jesus had He requested supernatural help in the Garden of Gethsemane. Actually, when we take into account the power that was already demonstrated in the Garden and then add the potential assistance and impact of twelve legions of angels, it becomes obvious that there was no human force on earth strong enough to take Jesus against His will. The only way He was going to be taken was if He allowed Himself to be taken! This is why He later told Pilate, “… Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above…” (John 19:11).

Let’s begin with our first question: What is a “legion”? The word “legion” is a military term that was taken from the Roman army. A legion denoted a group of at least 6,000 Roman soldiers, although the total number could be higher. This means that anytime we read about a legion of anything, we can know it always refers to at least 6,000 of something.

An amazing example of this is found in Mark 5:9, where the Bible tells us that the demon-possessed man of the Gadarenes had a legion of demons. That means this man had an infestation of at least 6,000 demons residing inside him!

Let’s now contemplate the second question: How many angels would there be in twelve legions? Since the word “legion” refers to at least 6,000, it means a legion of angels would be at least 6,000 angels. However, Jesus said the Father would give Him “more than” twelve legions of angels if He requested it. Because it would be pure speculation to try to figure out how many “more than” twelve legions would be, let’s just stick with the figure of twelve legions to see how many angels that entails.

One legion is 6,000 angels, so if you simply multiply that number by twelve, you’ll discover that twelve legions of angels would include a minimum of 72,000 angels. But Jesus said the Father would give Him more than twelve legions of angels; therefore, you can conclude that there were potentially many additional thousands of angels available to Jesus the night He was arrested!

Finally, let’s look at our third question: What would be the combined strength in this number of angels? Angels are powerful! In fact, Isaiah 37:36 records that a single angel obliterated 185,000 men in one night. So if a single angel had that kind of power, how much combined strength would there be in twelve legions of angels?

Since a single angel was able to obliterate 185,000 men in one night, it would mean the combined strength in a legion of 6,000 angels would be enough to destroy 1,110,000,000 men (that is, one billion, one hundred ten million men)—and that’s just the combined power in one legion of angels!

Now let’s multiply this same number 185,000 by twelve legions, or at least 72,000 angels, which was the number of angels Jesus said was available to Him on the night of His arrest. When we do, we find that there was enough combined strength at Jesus’ disposal to have annihilated at least 13,320,000,000 men (that is, thirteen billion, three hundred twenty million men)—which is more than twice the number of people living on the earth right now!

Jesus didn’t need Peter’s little sword that night. Had He chosen to do so, Jesus could have summoned 72,000 magnificent, mighty, dazzling, glorious, overwhelmingly powerful angels to the Garden to obliterate the Roman soldiers and the temple police who had come to arrest Him. In fact, the combined strength in twelve legions of angels could have wiped out the entire human race! But Jesus didn’t call on the supernatural help that was available to Him. Why? Because He knew it was time for Him to voluntarily lay down His life for the sin of the human race.

Learn a lesson from Jesus and from the apostle Peter. Jesus didn’t need Peter’s undersized, insignificant sword to deal with His situation. What good would a single sword have been against all the troops assembled in the Garden that night anyway? Peter’s actions were a perfect example of how the flesh tries in vain to solve its own problems but cannot. Jesus had all the power that was required to conquer those troops.

As you face your own challenges in life, always keep in mind that Jesus has the power to fix any problem you’ll ever come across. Before you jump in and make things worse by taking matters into your own hands, remember the story of Peter! The next time you’re tempted to “grab a sword and start swinging,” take a few minutes to remind yourself that Jesus can handle the problem without your intervention. Before you do anything else, pray and ask the Lord what you are supposed to do. Then after you receive your answer and follow His instructions, just watch His supernatural power swing into action to solve the dilemma you are facing!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am so glad You have the power to put an end to my problems! So many times I’ve acted just like Peter, swinging furiously in the strength of my own flesh as I’ve tried to solve my problems without Your help. Forgive me for wasting so much time and energy! Today I ask You to speak to my heart and tell me what I am supposed to do; then help me follow Your instructions to the letter. Give me the patience to wait while You supernaturally work behind the scenes to resolve my questions.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I boldly and joyfully affirm that Jesus Christ has all the power needed to fix my problems! I am not smart enough by myself to figure out how to get out of my messes, so I turn to Him to give me wisdom, insight, power, and the answers I need to get from where I am to where I need to be. His power works mightily through me, and that divine power is being released right now to tackle the challenges I face in life and bring me to a peaceful place of resolution in every situation.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Has there ever been a moment in your life when you got in a hurry and acted too fast—and then later regretted your actions?
  2. When you candidly examine your life, do you find that the same problems keep resurfacing again and again? Does this indicate that you are trying to solve those problems in the strength of your flesh instead of relying on the power of Jesus to help you?
  3. How does today’s Sparkling Gem cause you to look differently at your challenges? What are you going to do differently as a result of what you have read and learned today?

 

Depression And Despair

 

Those dark undercurrents of desperate emotions that drag us down into the murky shadows of hopelessness and despondency.

 

The bad news is that every follower of Christ seems to be subjected from time to time to this state of gloom… this so-called “Dark Night of the Soul:”

 

Job, while languishing near death cried out, “May the day of my birth perishI despise my lifemy days have no meaning.” (Job 3:3a; 7:16)

 

Elisha, after a great spiritual victory lamented, “I have had enough, Lordtake my life.” (1 Kings 19:5)

 

Paul, while suffering intense hardship in Asia, wrote, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death… ” (2 Corinthians 1:8, 9a)

 

Today, if you are in the midst of one of these “Dark Nights of the Soul,” consider and claim God’s promises from His Word. Keep in mind however, that with most promises there is a condition for us to fulfill:

 

Promise: “Even in darkness light dawns for the

 

[Condition:] upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.” (Psalm 112:4)

 

Promise: “I am the Light of the world.

 

[Condition:] Whoever follows Me

 

[Promise:] will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

 

Condition: “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed:

 

[Promise:] then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:10, 11)

 

Because DEPRESSION and DESPAIR are tools the Enemy often uses in his attacks against Christ’s followers, it is imperative that we fight back with God’s spiritual arsenal, which includes the Word of God. So claim His promises, fulfill the Word’s conditions, and then see Him win the victory on your behalf. (See Ephesians 6:10-20)

 

 

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