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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Matthew 28

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 28

Jesus died a horrible death on the cross for us. His sacrifice means we have been saved from eternal death. But the story doesn’t end with Jesus dead and buried in a tomb.

On the third day, Jesus came back to life. But why?

The work had been done, right? He made the sacrifice. Our sins had been paid for with his death. So why did Jesus need to come back to life?

First, it is final proof that Jesus is who he claimed to be. If he had just died and been buried, he’s just some guy who died a tragic death. How are we to know that he was the Son of God who died for our sins? By conquering death, he shows that he truly is the Son of God.

Second, by displaying his power over death, Jesus shows us that he has the power to raise us from the dead. His resurrection gives us hope that death will not be the end for us either. We believe that we will be resurrected because Jesus was resurrected.

When the women discovered the empty tomb, they were filled with such joy, they had to tell everyone. They hurried back because they couldn’t contain their excitement. They wanted everyone to know that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Does Jesus’ resurrection fill you with such joy and excitement that you have to tell others?

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I am so glad that you conquered death! Your raising back to life gives me hope that you will raise me back to life. Your resurrection shows me the power you have to work in my life. I don’t want to keep this a secret. Give me the words to tell others this incredibly good news. Thank you for your death and your resurrection! Amen.

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1.3)

Matthew 27

October 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 27

Why did Jesus have to die?

It’s a valid question. Why did the Son of God have to come to earth and die? Was there not another way? He is God. Could he not have found another way to save the world?

We are all sinners (Romans 3.23). Sin is rebellion against God, and it separates us from him. The punishment for sin is death (Romans 6.23). Therefore, we deserve death and eternal separation from God.

But that presents a problem. God is love (1 John 4.16), and he created us out of love. He doesn’t want any of his children to die (2 Peter 3.9). In the Old Testament, God came up with a plan to save his people. They could use an animal as a substitute. The animal would pay the price of death so that the person wouldn’t have to die.

However, since the animal didn’t die voluntarily, it wasn’t a perfect sacrifice. Therefore, the people would have to make a sacrifice each year. This was all to foreshadow God’s ultimate plan.

The only way to have a perfect sacrifice, was if an innocent person (someone who had committed absolutely no sin) willingly died for the sins of everyone else. But how is that possible? We already know that we are all sinners, so how can there be a perfect sacrifice?

There is only one way. God himself had to die in our place. He had to become human and become our sacrifice. And that is exactly what he did.

That’s good news, right? We have been saved from eternal death because our God loved us enough to die in our place. Spend some time thanking God for his sacrifice, and let others know about this good news.

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, thank you so much for loving me enough to become my sacrifice for sin. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die for me. Thank you, Jesus, for going through that horrible death so I could live. Thank you for taking my place. I cannot thank you enough, and I can never repay you. But I want to give my life back to you as a sacrifice. Help me to live for you. I love you so much. Amen.

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3.16

Matthew 26

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Jesus prayingMatthew 26

Jesus was worried to death.

Have you ever been worried? I mean REALLY worried? We often say things like “I’m worried to death.” That is usually an exaggeration. Most of the time we say that, we don’t really feel like we are about to die. But perhaps you have been extremely worried about something in your life.

Jesus was worried to death.

Look at what he says in Matthew 26.38: “My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.” Jesus was scared, no, he was horrified. He knew that he was about to be ridiculed and publically humiliated. He knew that he would be tortured. He also knew that he would suffer the most horrible death imaginable.

Jesus was worried to death.

He didn’t want to go through it. He wanted a way out. And he prayed to God all night long to get him out of it.

However, what he wanted more than anything was to please God. He wanted to do God’s will above all else. Look at what he prays: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26.39).

If someone you knew were going to be executed, and the only way to save them would be for you to go through hours of being whipped and beaten before being stripped naked and nailed to a rough piece of wood, where you would experience an excruciating death lasting several hours, who would you do it for? A friend at school? A girlfriend or boyfriend? A sibling? A parent? Would you do it for anyone?

Jesus did it for you.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you! It is hard to believe that you could love me enough to go through what you did for me. I didn’t deserve it. I am so unworthy of your love. I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive me. You are so amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you so much! Amen.

 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5.8.

 

Listen to “Not My Will But Thine” by Acappella:

Matthew 25

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 25

Parents love their kids, at least the good ones (good parents that is). They love to do things for their children, and they love it when other people do something nice for their kids. When you give a kid a present, in a way, you are also giving their parents a gift. Parents love to see their kids happy. So when you make their child happy, you make the parent happy as well.

This is what Jesus is getting at in Matthew 25.31-46. He says that when you help other people by taking care of their needs, you are taking care of Jesus himself! We are all God’s children, so when we give to God’s children, we are also giving to God. He wants to see his children happy. When we bring joy and happiness to others, we make the Father happy.

Of course, parents also don’t like to see their children abused nor neglected. So when we ignore the needs of the people we see, it upsets Jesus. He tells us that we are ignoring him when we do that. Ouch.

Think about it. If you saw Jesus Christ, and he was hungry, would you share with him, or would you turn your back on him? When we don’t help others, we are turning our back on Jesus himself. But when we do help those in need, we are helping the Creator of the Universe.

What needs do you see around you? What specific ways can you help Jesus?

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I don’t want to ignore you; I want to serve you. I know that there are people all around who have needs. Help me to look for those needs, and help me to do anything I can to help. Use me as your instrument to serve others and serve you. Amen.

 

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14.31

Matthew 22

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 22

I want to be like Jesus. Several times in Matthew 22, the religious leaders try to trap Jesus. They come up with these questions to try to outsmart Jesus. I can just picture them staying up all night trying to think of the perfect question. Then that little light bulb comes on. “Oh this is it! He’ll never be able to answer this one correctly. If he answers it this way, we’ll get him. But if he answers it this way, we’ll still get him! There’s no right answer. We’re geniuses!”

Then they come to Jesus. You can see them snickering a little while they ask Jesus their trick question. They just know they’ve got Jesus trapped now.

Then Jesus blows their minds. He finds a correct answer to a trick question. He makes the religious leaders look foolish. His wisdom leaves them speechless. That’s why I want to be like Jesus. I want to have wisdom like that to silence my critics.

Okay, maybe that’s a selfish reason to be like Jesus. Please pray for me.

One such episode occurs in Matthew 22.34-40. One of the Pharisees asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. There’s no way out of this. There are over 600 commandments! Whichever one he picks, they can blast him for not picking any of the others. It’s the perfect plan.

But Jesus outsmarts them again: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (verses 37-39). Jesus says that all the other commandments are summed up in these two commandments.

What about not taking God’s name in vain? If you love God, you won’t take his name in vain. What about not lying? If you love your neighbor, you won’t lie to her.

He did it again. That Jesus is pretty smart. (That is a huge understatement.)

Jesus sums up the Christian life with these two commandments. We like to make things complicated, but it’s simple really.

Love God. Love others. That’s the challenge. It’s the goal. Put it into practice. If we are like Jesus, this is what we will do.

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, help me to love you and love others. Amen.

 

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4.16

Matthew 21

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 21Donkey

This is a strange episode from Jesus’ life. It’s a little weird to think about Jesus riding a donkey down the street, while people throw their coats and palm branches on the ground in front of him. It’s like a spontaneous mini-parade.

But a donkey? Really?

But Jesus did this to fulfill a prophecy. Zechariah prophesized hundreds of years earlier that Judah’s Savior and King would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9.9-13). Sure, Jesus could have ridden in on a majestic white horse, towering over all the people. But that’s not Jesus’ style. He rides in on a humble donkey. He’s riding what any other person would ride. He’s on their level. It’s like Jesus is saying, “Yes, I am your King, but I’m also one of you.”

That is so amazingly awesome! This is a perfect example of how Jesus is 100% God yet also 100% human. Jesus is God Almighty, but while on Earth, he chose to limit himself and be completely human. Any supernatural miracle he performed was only because he asked God, and God allowed him to do so.

Again, Jesus could have ridden in on a Clydesdale, a Rolls Royce, or a space ship. He could have flown into Jerusalem like Superman. He could have had the angels carry him into the city on a kingly platform. He could have had fireworks and lasers. He deserved it. But he chose to limit himself. He chose the donkey. He chose to be like us.

He did this so we could relate to God. God is huge. He is beyond our comprehension. Saying that God is complex is an understatement. But in Jesus, we can better understand God. He doesn’t seem so far off. He becomes tangible (that means something we can see and touch).

God doesn’t want to be far off. He wants to be near to you. He wants a real relationship. He wants you to know him, because he is so in love with you. That is why Jesus came. That is why Jesus died. That is why Jesus rose from the grave.

God wants to be in your presence. Will you let him?

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, thank you for coming to Earth as Jesus. I don’t want you to be far off. I want to be in your presence every day. Your love is amazing. I can’t understand how you could love me so much, but I thank you that you do. I love you. Thank you, Jesus for choosing to become like me. Thank you for your life, your death, and your resurrection. Amen.

 

“Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2.5a-11

Matthew 20

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

choke holdMatthew 20

Have you ever been in need? Have you ever required mercy? Maybe you’ve wrestled with your dad or a sibling, and they put you in a hold you couldn’t get out of. They wouldn’t let you out till you cried “uncle” or “mercy.”

That’s not what I’m talking about, however. As Americans, most of us don’t really know what it is to be in need. Even if our families struggle financially, most of us are still wealthy when compared to the rest of the world. Chances are you didn’t worry whether you would eat today. You have probably never feared being thrown in prison and tortured. Most of us have never come within inches of death.

We don’t understand mercy.

Yet all of us are in need of it. All of us have sinned (Romans 3.23), and therefore, we all deserve eternal death (Romans 6.23). We are all in need of Jesus’ mercy to save us.

The two blind men knew what it was to be in need. Since they couldn’t see, they couldn’t work. Since they couldn’t work, they couldn’t make money to buy food, clothes, shelter, etc. Anyone could easily take advantage of them. They were vulnerable. They lived in fear.

They cried out to Jesus for mercy. Jesus had compassion on them and gave them their sight.

Perhaps, we are the ones who are actually blind. We don’t see that we are in need of mercy. We don’t see that we are lost without Jesus. Until we do, can we really experience Christ’s mercy?

Realize that you are in need. You will experience eternal death without Jesus. But he died so you could live. If you cry out to him and are united with him (Romans 6.3-7), he will rescue you.

 

Prayer for Today

Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me. Amen.

 

“Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.” Psalm 86.6