Sunday, July 31, 2011

They Lied About The Resurrection!

Matthew 28:11-15

Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure." So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.


Some of the guards went to make a report to the chief priests.

They wanted to tell them all the things that had done.

They described the earthquake.

They described the rolling of the stone.

They described the arrival of an angel sitting on the stone.

They described the empty tomb.

It had all happened and they described it all.


They knew it was a supernatural event.

They understood that the Lord Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.

And so they told the Jewish leaders.

But the Jewish leaders didn’t believe.

And they didn’t want to investigate.


The Jewish leaders were so resistant, so blind, so sinful, so self-willed and so locked in to their own religious belief that they would not even investigate the truth that was reported to them by the soldiers.

They just refused to believe.


The news brought shock.

The news brought fear.

But it did not bring repentance.

And it did not bring faith.


The Jewish leaders convened immediately.

They had to deal with the fact that something supernatural had happened at the grave.

The disciples had not stolen His body.

They had got to answer this problem.

If they allowed the people to think the Lord Jesus Christ was alive, they were going to have a worse situation than they had ever had.

The whole city and the whole nation would go after the resurrected Christ.

So they had got to plan to lie about the resurrection.


They came out with a three-part resolution:

Firstly, they bribed the soldiers to lie about the truth of the resurrection. They gave them a great amount of money.

Second, they asked the soldiers to spread lie about the resurrection: the disciples had come and stolen His body while they were asleep.

Third, they promised to cover for the soldiers if they got in trouble with Pilate.


The apostasy of the nation of Israel was final.

Their Messiah had risen from the dead and they were not the least bit interested in affirming whether or not it was true.

They were obstinate in their apostasy.

They willfully rejected the Lord Jesus Christ no matter what the evidence was.


The soldiers took the money and did what they were taught.

They went out and lied about the resurrection.

And to this day the prevalent anti-resurrection theory is still the "theft theory" that the disciples stole His body.


The soldiers knew the truth.

The Jewish leaders had every reason to know the truth.

But they refused to believe.

And the soldiers were successful at what they did.


Many have seen the truth about the Resurrection and believed.

Many have seen the truth about the Resurrection but refused to believe.

And they lie about the Resurrection so that others may not believe the truth.

How about you?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Some Responses To The Death of Christ

Matthew 27:54-56

The Response Of Saving Faith...


So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)


The centurion commanded over a hundred men.

He and his men were given the responsibility of guarding the Lord Jesus Christ.


When the sun instantly became dark at noon, when the earthquake split the ground and the rocks, and when the graves were opened, they knew something out of the ordinary was happening.

And they feared greatly.


The soldiers were not afraid merely of the earthquake or the darkness.

Inherent within their fear was spiritual awe.

They concluded that the Lord Jesus Christ was not just another criminal or rebel.


They might had heard the Lord Jesus Christ spoke.

Now they saw miraculous phenomena.

They knew something has gone wrong.

Their fear indicated an awareness of their sins.

They feared they might be under the judgment of God.


They affirmed the divine Sonship of Jesus.

Their confession indicated salvation.


What had happened to the centurion and some of the soldiers was a work of the Holy Spirit.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ’s attitude and words on the cross, and through the supernatural phenomena, the Holy Spirit brought them to an affirmation of faith that can only come from God.


The best response anyone can have toward the gospel is saving faith.


The Response of Sympathetic Loyalty...


And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons. (Matthew 27:55-56)


The women stood afar off.

The soldiers kept some area clear between the cross and the crowd.


These women were loving and sympathetic.

But they could only watch their Master die.


Their loyalties ran so deep.

Their hearts were so filled with love and sympathy.

They would stay with the Lord Jesus Christ to the end.


They didn’t fear the Jews or the Romans.

Nothing could overpower their love and sympathy for the Lord Jesus Christ.


They had followed the Lord Jesus Christ from Galilee to the foot of the cross.

They remained loyal, sympathetic, unwavering, and faithful.


God allowed these women to be eyewitnesses of His Son’s death and resurrection because they were faithful.


What about us?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Shall I Do with Jesus?

Matthew 27:11-25

Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” (Matthew 27:11)


The Romans held the exclusive right of execution.

The Jewish leaders had to approach Pilate.


And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. (Matthew 27:12)


There was no fault in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Jewish leaders had to manufacture lies to kill the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pilate could see through their plan.

But Pilate allowed the leaders to scream more accusations against the Lord Jesus Christ.


Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly. (Matthew 27:13-14)


Pilate was amazed.

The Lord Jesus Christ was being accused of serious crimes, yet He said nothing in His own defense.

The Lord Jesus Christ was resolute.

He willingly went to the cross.


Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. (Matthew 27:15)


As a concession to a conquered people, the governor would release a criminal during the Passover.


And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. (Matthew 27:16)


Barabbas was not just another common criminal; he was well-known.

He was a robber.

He was an insurrectionist and a murderer.

He was a severe threat to the safety of the people.

And he was due to be crucified.


Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:17)

For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. (Matthew 27:18)


Pilate knew whom the leaders would choose.

But he wanted to pit the leaders against the people.

He knew about the popularity of the Lord Jesus Christ.


But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. (Matthew 27:20)

The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said, "Barabbas!" (Matthew 27:21)


Pilate underestimated the power of the leaders.

He overestimated the heart of the people.


Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!" Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!" (Matthew 27:22-23)


They wanted the Lord Jesus Christ’ blood.

Nothing Pilate did would change that.

Pilate was in a panic.

He didn’t want to violate justice.

But he also didn’t want to start a riot.


When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." (Matthew 27:24)

And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." (Matthew 27:25)


What a frightening thought!

The Jewish crowd said they would be responsible for the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That was the verdict of the nation Israel on their Messiah.

The Jewish people took on themselves the blood guiltiness for the Lord Jesus Christ’s death.

In so doing, they gave testimony to the whole world that it was their responsibility.


Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. (Matthew 27:26)


What shall you do with the Lord Jesus Christ?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Runaway Christians

Matthew 26:50b-56

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him away.

And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"

In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."

Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.


The chief priests and elders engineered the plot to arrest the Lord Jesus Christ.

They enlisted the help of the Romans, who came and laid hands on the Lord Jesus Christ and took Him.


It was apostle Peter who drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10).

His impetuous nature reacted violently to the Lord Jesus Christ’s arrest.


The Lord Jesus Christ gives us some very important reasons for avoiding violence.


"For all who take the sword will perish by the sword."

Violence is fatal.


When someone takes a life, the government has the right to take his life.


Under no circumstances does a Christian have the right to decide on his own to take a life, even if his intent is to defend the Lord Jesus Christ’s honor.


"Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?"

Violence is foolish.


The apostle Peter didn’t have to fight.

If the Lord Jesus Christ wanted help, He could have asked God to send Him more than twelve legions of angels, or more than 72,000 angels.


"How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"

"But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."

Violence violates the plan of God.


According to Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ had to be taken captive and led away like a sheep to slaughter.

Sheep do not battle the shepherd.

They are led to slaughter quietly and peacefully.

The Lord Jesus Christ had to be betrayed.


Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.


The disciples fled out of fear.

Once the Lord Jesus Christ was tied up, they became afraid.


Although the Lord Jesus Christ forced the Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders to admit that they were interested in arresting Him only, the disciples were sure they would come after them eventually.


The disciples couldn’t handle the pressure of their trial.

They claimed they would follow the Lord Jesus Christ to death if need be.

They claimed they would never be offended by Him or deny Him.

But that didn’t happen.

When the trial arrived and their lives were on the line, they ran.


Sometimes we wonder how they could have done that to the Son of God.

But if we look at our own faithfulness, we realize that we too have run from trials and abandoned the Lord Jesus Christ.


There were few reasons why the disciples fled.


They were unprepared.

They slept instead of praying.

People will defect when they are weak in the Word of God and prayer.


They were impulsive.

They acted on impulse rather than reason.

They acted on emotion rather than revelation.

They didn’t think through what was right or reason what was best.

They reacted to the moment.


They were impatient.

They couldn’t wait for God’s deliverance.

Had they waited on God, they might have seen a great miracle delivering them from harm.


They were carnal.

They relied on their fleshly power and weapons.

But when they lost those fleshly resources, they didn’t know what to do or whom to trust.

They were inconsistent.


In spite of all that happened, the Lord Jesus Christ was triumphant.


The Lord Jesus Christ questioned their wasted opportunities to arrest Him when He was with them in the Temple.

Why didn’t they seize Him there and then?


These people were robbers.

They had no justification to take the Lord Jesus Christ away publicly.

And they feared the people, who believed Him to be the Messiah.

So they took Him away secretly.


Are we Christians who would stay faithful to the end?

Or would we be the runaway Christians during our trials?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Lord's Supper

Matthew 26:26-30

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.

For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom."

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


After having drawn the curtain on the Passover, the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Lord's Supper.


And as they were eating, the Lord Jesus Christ took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."


The Lord Jesus Christ broke the bread because it came in large flat pieces, which had to be broken to be distributed.


Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you."


All eleven disciples shared the cup.


All of us who come to the Lord’s Table are also participants.

All of us participate in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all of us are partakers of His table.


"This is my body."

That was a new concept.


The unleavened bread had always been a symbol of leaving Egypt and the past life behind.

It was a way of saying, "We’re starting anew. Our old life will not influence us."


But now the unleavened bread symbolizes the Lord Jesus Christ’s body.


Luke 22:19 tells us the Lord Jesus Christ’s complete sentence: "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."


The bread is symbolic of the Lord Jesus Christ’s body; the reality of His life given in sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin.


"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."


God required the shedding of blood in making covenants with men.

When God brought about reconciliation with Himself, the price was blood.

That let man know that a relationship to God would cost the blood of a sacrifice.


Hebrews 9:22 says, "Without shedding of blood there is no remission."


A covenant with God always demanded more than simple death; the death had to be accompanied by the shedding of blood because the life of the flesh is in the blood.


The pouring out of blood by animal sacrifice is a graphic and painful demonstration of the loss of life.

It pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ, who would be the final sacrifice for reconciliation with God.


The Lord Jesus Christ died to save us from our sin.

But it wasn’t enough for Him to die.

His blood had to pour out through the wounds in His hands, feet, side, and the thorn marks in His head.


The blood running out of the Lord Jesus Christ graphically demonstrated that life was flowing out of Him as He offered Himself as the final sacrifice for sin.


The importance of the cup is to remind believers of His blood, which was shed on our behalf.


We were saved through the Lord Jesus Christ’s death.

His blood needed to be shed because the only kind of sacrifices God accepted were those whose blood had been shed.


Matthew 26:28 says the Lord Jesus Christ’s blood was shed for many.

Who are the many?

All who believe, both Jew and Gentile.

It was shed not just for the nation of Israel.


It was shed for the remission of sins.


Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted a memorial to His death the night before it occurred.

He headed to the cross to pour out His blood as a sacrifice for sin.

He instituted the bread and the cup as a memorial that we might remember His sacrificial death on our behalf.

None of the sacrificial animals of the Old Covenant could take away sin.

Only the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ could do that.


"But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom."


How long are we to celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

We are to keep celebrating it until the Lord Jesus Christ shares it with us in the Kingdom of Heaven.


And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


Praising God was the last thing they did before going to the Mount of Olives.


The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remember what God has done for us in providing salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

God Is In Control

Matthew 26: 1-5

Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."

Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.

But they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people."


The time had come for the Lord Jesus Christ to be crucified.

Nothing came as a surprise to Him.

He knew in advance everything that would happen and the details surrounding the event.


The time was soon at hand.

It was not the time for the glory of the Kingdom.

It was the time for the Lord Jesus Christ to do God's will and give His sinless life as the payment for sins of His followers.

It was the only way they could enter the kingdom with Him.


The Passover taught that sin had to be punished if death was to be avoided.

God had to see the blood of the sinless sacrifice before the sinner could be forgiven.


The religious leaders were seeking excuses to put the Lord Jesus Christ to death long before this.

Now they were even more motivated to follow through with the act.

They began to actually planning for His death.


To the Jewish leaders, Jesus was a threat to their place of authority and their ideas of the kingdom.

They despised His condemnation of their religious practices and the way He exposed their hypocrisy for all to see.

Now the Lord was in Jerusalem.

They saw a window of opportunity.

They plotted to take Him by trickery and kill Him.


The Jewish leaders didn't realize that God had assembled them to fulfill His will.

What they saw as a strategic move in their favor was really God permitting them to carry out the evil of their hearts and bring the Lord Jesus to the Cross.

Even every part of their reasoning was under God’s sovereign supervision.


The Lord Jesus Christ would die in the exact way the Father ordained and foretold in the Scriptures.


God is in control of everything as He presides over the affairs of men.

He permits our choice, but He governs our ability to act on them.


God sees the end from the beginning.

He takes even the evil desires and efforts of His enemies and uses them in His overall purpose and plan.


We may not know the details of everything.

But if we follow Christ, we may be able to see the big picture.

Let us do the Father's will with complete trust.

Let us see how every detail of our lives fits precisely into His sovereign plan.

God’s Kingdom will prevail.

He will bring us into our inheritance with Christ.