Sunday Devotional: Luke 24:44-49

“Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49)

These words from Jesus are the last ones recorded of Him speaking in the book of Luke.  They were said to the disciples around the time of Jesus’ ascension.  He was returning to the Father but before He did, Jesus did two things.

One, he taught them.  He “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”  He helped them to understand and relate those passages in the Old Testament (Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms) and how they relate to Jesus.  And not only that, how Jesus fulfilled those promises and prophesies.

Two, he instructed them.  He told them that he would be sending them someone that the Father promised.  That someone is the Holy Spirit.  They were to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes to empower them in sharing the Gospel in which they were witnesses.

We have that same message and we have that same Spirit inside of us.  We have the Scriptures are able to understand them through the Holy Spirit.  And because of that same Holy Spirit, we are able to go and share the message with others.  This week, let us be about that.  There is a world out there that needs some good news.  We have that good news in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday Devotional: Romans 8:1-4

“Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering,  in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)

This week in the news brought a reminder to the truth about condemnation.  We all apart from Jesus Christ stand condemned before God.  We are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God.  On our own, we are unable to be considered righteous.  However, this is not thankfully the end of the story.

Paul in his letter to the Romans reminds them that because of Jesus Christ there is hope  Those who are in Jesus, who follow Him, are saved from that condemnation.  He has set us free from sin and death through his life and work on the cross.  The law shows that our righteousness is not good enough.  However Jesus Christ met all of the law’s requirements and through His righteousness we are made whole.

This week, let us share that good news.  That there doesn’t have to be condemnation but through Christ there is salvation and hope.

Sunday Devotional: Romans 15:5-7

“Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.

Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:5-7)

We live in a world with a lot of discord and disharmony.  There is a lot of division.  Sin divides us.  But Jesus brings us together.  Paul wrote to the church in Rome and reminded them of this.  On their own, there is division and strife.  But with God, there is unity.

God gives us the endurance and encouragement.  He gives us the hope to come together united.  This is possible through the work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins and rose again, is able to bring together people from all walks of life.

The other big thing in this passage is accepting.  Paul is not saying we are to accept sins but we are to accept sinners because we all are sinners.  But through the grace and glory of God, we have been accepted by the work on Jesus Christ and we can repent and turn to Him.

This week let us encourage one another.  Let us live in harmony and let us show love and acceptance to others and as we do point them to Jesus.

Sunday Devotional: Isaiah 52:13-15

“See, My Servant will act wisely;
He will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted.
Just as many were appalled at You—
His appearance was so disfigured
that He did not look like a man,
and His form did not resemble a human being—
so He will sprinkle many nations.
Kings will shut their mouths because of Him,
For they will see what had not been told them,
and they will understand what they had not heard.” (Isaiah 52:13-15)

These are the words from the prophet Isaiah.  He wrote these words hundreds of years before the One who would come to fulfill this prophesy.  That One was Jesus.  Isaiah wrote about how Jesus would be lifted up and exalted.  He wrote that he would be disfigured which Jesus was as He was beaten and flogged to the point of death before His crucifixion.  But this was done so that all nations could be reconciled unto God.

These verses are prior to the “Suffering Servant” chapter.  Though these verses are not as well known, they as well portray how Jesus suffered for us so that “they will see what had not been told them, and they will understand what they had not heard.”  Jesus came as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and has been raised up and greatly exalted in His rightful place as the Son of God.  This week let us remember and be thankful that Jesus did that for us.

Sunday Devotional: Lamentations 3:31-33

“For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
Even if He causes suffering,
He will show compassion
according to His abundant, faithful love.
For He does not enjoy bringing affliction
or suffering on mankind.” (Lamentations 3:31-33)

The book of Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah.  If there was someone who understood lamenting, it was Jeremiah.  He was a prophet who was charged with speaking God’s truth to the people.  But the people would not listen. And because they would not listen and repent, judgement came and the people suffered including Jeremiah.

Even throughout the book of Lamentations where there is lamenting and grief throughout, there is also hope.  These verses are a part of that hope.  Jeremiah reminds the people that God does have abundant, faithful love for his people.  He does want to bring His people back from suffering and pain.  He “will not reject us forever”.

Sometimes when we are going through painful times and we are in that valley of suffering, we feel that it never ends.  Months or even years may pass and the suffering we feel never ends.  But these verses remind us that even though it seems never ending, it is not.  God will bring it to end.  He loves us and though we may deal with suffering, we have hope because of Jesus Christ.  We are not rejected forever because we have been accepted through Christ’s work on the cross.  We may still endure pain and suffering on this Earth but it will not last forever.

This week, as we may going through our own pains and sufferings, let us rest in the hope that it will not last forever.  That the steadfast love of God endures and He will deliver us.

 

Sunday Devotional: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

“Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose.  For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:

that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures,
that He was buried,
that He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures,
and that He appeared to Cephas,
then to the Twelve.
Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time;
most of them are still alive,
but some have fallen asleep.
Then He appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one abnormally born,
He also appeared to me.

For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me. Therefore, whether it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.”  (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

This passage written by Paul one of his letters to the Corinthians church was in essence the Gospel message.  Paul shared with the Corinthians what was at heart of the message: Christ.  Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and who was resurrected.  This death and resurrection was foretold according to the scriptures.  And that there were eyewitnesses to this resurrection.

This is the message that the apostles proclaimed.  It is the message that Paul proclaimed.  It is the message that we are to proclaim.  And through the grace of God we have received this message and believe it.  And we are called to share this message as well.  This week, let us remember the message that we have been given.  That Jesus Christ died for our sins and was resurrected according to the scriptures.  And by that we are able to repent and receive forgiveness and believe.

Sunday Devotional: John 11:47-52

So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do since this man does many signs? If we let Him continue in this way, everyone will believe in Him! Then the Romans will come and remove both our place and our nation.”

One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all!  You’re not considering that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish.”  He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,  and not for the nation only, but also to unite the scattered children of God.”

Last week was the celebration of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  It is the salvation we are able to receive because of the payment for our sins by Jesus dying for our sins.  He freely gave His life for us but the chief priests, scribes and the people were a part of how that came about.

The chief priests and scribes conspired to kill Jesus because they were threatened by Him.  Several times they tried to kill Jesus   But after the time that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the plot to conspire to kill Jesus was really put into effect.

But even with all this, truth shone out.  The words that Caiaphas spoke saying “that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people rather than the whole nation perish” served as prophetic words.  Jesus would die for the people so that the people would not perish.  But not only that, He died so that Jews and Gentiles alike, all nations, all people, all languages would be gathered together to be apart of the family of God.

Even though the season of Easter has passed, the hope that came from it does not.  It is an everyday hope that all followers of Jesus have.  Because of one man dying for the sins of the world, we have hope.  Because of His resurrection, we have hope.  Let us share that hope with others.