Monday, July 31, 2017

Passion in the Life of Peter

This morning I woke up thinking about passion and the life of the apostle Peter.  He started out almost afraid of Jesus.  When Jesus filled his boat full of fish, he said, "Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man." (Luke 5:8)  That didn't deter Jesus.  He told him, "From now on you will catch men." (Luke 5:10)

He was probably the most vocal of the twelve.  He said so many good things during Jesus' time on earth.  One of my favorites is when people were leaving Jesus and Jesus asked Peter and the others around him if they were going to leave Him too.  Peter says, "To whom would we go?  You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)

Then, when they come to take Jesus, Peter grabs a sword and cuts Malchus' ear off.  Jesus had just told him he would deny Him three times, and Peter still defends Jesus with his whole heart. (John 18:10)

After they take Jesus away, Peter follows.  He is only one of two disciples the Bible records as being there when they are interrogating Jesus.  Then he denies Jesus.  (Matthew 26) He is not recorded as being at the cross, but we see him on Resurrection Day. (John 20)

Later when Jesus appears to them in Galilee, and the disciples are fishing.  Peter is the only one to jump out of the boat and swim to Jesus on land.  Jesus restores Peter at that point with a beautiful conversation about love, and the job He has for Peter.  He does it for Peter, not for His sake.  (John 21)

Peter is in the upper room with the 120 on the day of Pentecost, and preached an awesome message and 3000 people get saved! (Acts 2)

Later, he is responsible for the first Gentiles coming into the Church! (Acts 10) People are healed through him and one woman, Tabitha is raised from the dead! (Acts 9)  He later writes 1 & 2 Peter, two of the epistles found in our Bible today!  

It is remarkable what Jesus can do with the human heart.  He took this timid, fearful man and turned him into a man full of passion and love and a heart for His Lord!  What can He do with you and me?

but grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.- 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

31 Days of Healing: The Lord's Supper, Part 2

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;  and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.-1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NKJV)

In 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth.  He is explaining to them the Lord's Supper and addressing some different issues they were having when coming together to participate in the Lord's Supper together. I want to just focus on verses 23-26.

Paul tells the Church in this city that "he received from the Lord."  That means that Jesus told Paul what He said to the disciples that night he shared the Lord's supper with them.   Jesus told Him.  I find that really cool that the Lord would illuminate Paul on His exact words.

So, Jesus tells Him that He prays, takes bread and breaks and gives it to them.  He tells them that this is His body which is broken for them.  Why would His body be broken for them?  I go into detail about that in Part 1 of the Lord's Supper.  You can read that here.  But, to be brief, it was for the physical healing of our bodies.

Next, Jesus takes the cup, and tells them, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood."  The new covenant means they are no longer under the old. His death and the shedding of His blood would move them into the new. His blood was shed much from the time the rulers and authorities took Him, until His death on that cross.  Blood rolled out of His hands and feet. He was the lamb of God, put to death for our forgiveness.

Then He tells them and later relays to Paul that they are to do eat the same kind of meal "in remembrance of Him."  They are to eat the bread and drink the cup.  They are to eat the bread and drink the cup to remember Him, to remember the broken body for their healing, and the shed blood for the forgiveness of their sins.

Nowhere in this passage of scripture does Jesus or Paul tell us to confess our sins. Nowhere in this passage of scripture does Jesus or Paul tell us to ask for forgiveness for our sins.  It has already been given.

The Lord's Supper is a reminder of what He did.  

He finishes the explanation with,

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

These words give us insight into the Lord and what this is all about.  For as often...He wants us to do this regularly.  Eat the bread and drink the cup.  You remember the broken body and the blood.  In doing this, you are proclaiming His death, His broken body, and His shed blood for you. 

You are not proclaiming your sin.  You are proclaiming your freedom from it!  You are proclaiming your forgiveness!  You are proclaiming your healing!

I pray that the next time you go to this you will experience more freedom and healing than you ever have before. 

Many blessings in Him,

To read more in the series go here:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Women in the Life of Jesus: The Wife of Pontius Pilate


While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”-Matthew 27:19 (NKJV)

She is often referred to in tradition as Procula or Claudia or Claudia Procula.  She was the wife of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor in Judea during the time of Jesus, and was presumably a Roman.  
She has only one sentence in all of scripture that is devoted to her found in Matthew 27:19.  It may be only one sentence, but it actually can tell us quite a lot.

It seems as though she was a brave woman.  She obviously felt confident enough to send Pilate a message, and at a very tense time.  He was sitting on the judgment seat with a lot of people screaming at him, an odd time to receive a message from your wife.

She could have also felt very safe in her marriage to send him the message at such a time.  Pilate has been described as being ruthless.  He made many ruthless decisions during his time as prefect in Judea, but his wife felt confident and/or safe enough to send him a message.

Or she could have also been motivated by panic.  We could determine that because of her state of mind described in the message.

It was very early in the day, and she had probably just recently woken up from sleep, and had been dreaming.  I have had dreams before and woken up and still carried them with me, to the point that they did effect my morning. But she was very shaken up, enough to send her husband a message.

In the message, she says she has "suffered many things today in a dream because of Him."  I used to think, why would God give her a dream to make her suffer?  That seems very out of character for God.  But recently after reading this passage a few times, it occurred to me that she could have quite possibly had a dream about what was actually going to happen to Jesus, both physically and spiritually.

Physically, He would suffer a lot. He would be beaten,  and have a crown of thorns forced into His head.  Jesus would also be flogged at the order of Pilate. (See John 19:1)  Peter tells us later on in the epistles what this flogging was for.  

who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.-1 Peter 2:24

He would also be crucified by being nailed to a cross.  But while He was there, there were things happening spiritually that you couldn’t see with the physical eye.  He would spiritually be taking on sin for all mankind. In the Gospel of John, John the Baptist says about Him,

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!-John 1:29

His body would be beaten.  His blood would be shed. I believe now that is why Pilate's wife suffered in a dream because of Him.
Because she was Roman, the fact that He was the Son of God was probably outside of her belief system.  I don’t believe she was given the dream to stop the crucifixion of Jesus, because that was part of His purpose.  But in sending the message to Pilate she was another testifying about Jesus, even though she did not know.

She was like the high priest in John 11, who unknowingly prophesied about Jesus’ death.

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. -John 11:49-52 (NKJV)

One last thought.  She was a Roman.  Surely she had seen beatings and many crucifixions before.  What made Jesus’ so different?  I believe it hinges on one word. When she sends the message, she calls Jesus a "just” man.  Different translations use the words “righteous” or  “innocent.”  That word in the Greek is "dikaios."  It occurs 80 times in the New Testament, and is found in Galatians 3:11 where it says, "The just shall live by faith."  Jesus was innocent.  And His death would make way for those who believe to be just too.  He was the first of many.

To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

31 Days of Healing: ALL Things Are Possible!

The enemy of our souls is a liar.  He will tell you your situation is hopeless, that it is over, and this is just not true. There are many men and women whose stories tell us that nothing is ever hopeless with Jesus.

*The man born blind from birth was healed by Jesus. He instantly received his sight.

When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated Sent.) So he went and washed, and came back seeing.-John 9:6-7(NKJV)

When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.  For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.-Mark 5:27-29 (NKJV)

*The man at the pool of Bethesda who hadn’t walked for 38 years was immediately healed by Jesus.

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.-John 5:8-9 (NKJV)

*Malchus’ ear was instantly restored by Jesus after Peter cut it off with a sword.

And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.  But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.-Luke 22:50-51 (NKJV)

*The man laid at the Temple Gate called Beautiful who was lame from his mother’s womb was instantly healed.

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”  And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them-walking, leaping, and praising God.  And all the people say him walking and praising God.-Acts 3:6-9 (NKJV)

*The man at Lystra who had been a cripple from his mother’s womb was instantly healed after hearing Paul preach.

And in Lystra, a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.  This man heard Paul speaking.  Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!”  And he leaped and walked.-Acts 14:8-10 (NKJV)

The He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  So he who was dead sat up and began to speak.  And He presented him to his mother.-Luke 7:14-15 (NKJV)

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age.  And they were overcome with amazement.-Mark 5:41-42 (NKJV)

*Tabitha was raised from the dead.

Then Peter arose and went with them.  When he had come, they brought him to the upper room.  And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.  But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed.  And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.  And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.  Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.-Acts 9:39-42 (NKJV)

All of these will tell you it is not hopeless. Nothing is ever hopeless.  It isn’t over until you are in the ground, and then Lazarus would tell you otherwise.

All things are possible to him who believes.  Keep fighting.  Keep believing.  Don’t give up.  God is faithful. Your answer is found in JESUS.

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”-Mark 9:23

To read more in the series go here:
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