Intro: How many people today are celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? I don’t have the exact figure but I believe there are more who are not celebrating because they do not believe. They are the Muslims, Buddhist and atheists. But even among those who believe in the resurrection not all are also true born again Christians. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is known by almost everyone here in the United States but do they really believe in Him as their only hope of eternal life? Every religion has a founder. Gautama Buddha founded Buddhism but where is he? Dead. Mohammed is the founder of Islam, but where is he? Dead. Felix Manalo is the founder of Iglesia ni Cristo, but where is he? Dead. The Roman Catholic Church made Peter the rock and founder of this religion and where is Peter now? Dead but his spirit is in heaven. He does not even know that they are using him as the founder and first pope naming the church after him as “St. Peter’s Basilica” in Rome, the seat of Catholicism. The Mormons founder is Joseph Smith and where is he? Dead. But the only one who was raised from the dead is the Lord Jesus Christ. The first human body that died and raised with a glorified body, never to die again. But did the religious in His time believe that he was raised from the dead? They heard that Jesus was raised but refused to believe He did. Here’s the account as recorded by Matthew.
“The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise the disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. The last deception will be worse than the first. “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, and make the tomb secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men… While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples cameduring the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.” Matt. 27:62-66; 28:1-4; 28:11-15
Religious leaders bribed the soldiers to tell a lie. Is this still true today? How many religions withhold the truth and keep their followers ignorant? But some will say, what if this is not true? Paul already anticipated this question.
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” 1 Cor. 15:12-13, 17-19
I was asked by a friend about the reality of my faith in Christ and eternal life, what if this is not true? You just wasted your life for nothing. So I answered, even if it is not true, I am living a better quality of life than I was before. But what if it’s true? Where will you be? Here’s Paul’s answer.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Cor. 15:20
“Christ is Alive, the Believer’s Blessed Hope”
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with your forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:15-21
These were the very words of Jesus to His disciples. Please take note that when He was telling this to them, Judas Iscariot was no longer with them.
Only the eleven were left with Jesus when He revealed this truth about them seeing Him again after His resurrection and they did. What about us today? Has anyone of you seen Jesus? If you did then what you have seen is Satan disguising as an angel of light. Jesus is back in heaven and will no longer appear in His resurrected body until He returns together with all who died in Him and have been in the rapture to meet Him in the air. The only time and means that He showed Himself was as light to Paul. Paul saw the light but was blinded by the light. True believers are those who come to Jesus by faith after being enlightened of the gospel without seeing Jesus are blessed.
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
Jesus told that to Thomas who doubted what the others who saw told him. Those who have believed the claims of Jesus about Himself, the gospel and by faith received Him into their hearts, have this blessed hope. But how does one know that He is alive? Our text says these words of Jesus, “and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever”, not just to be with us but to be “in us.” Isn’t this what God said and promised under the New Covenant He revealed to Ezekiel?
“And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezek. 36:27
God already revealed the Holy Spirit to give to the believers in the future. Christ death and resurrection fulfilled the way God will save His people.
What then is the significance of the resurrection of Jesus? It means that His sacrificial death for sins He did not commit was accepted by God His Father.
God proved it by His appearances to His disciples and to five hundred in the forty days before He went back to heaven. He was true to His Word that in the three days He was in the tomb everybody in the world would not see Him. But after three days, His disciples would see Him. He also said that He would not leave them as orphans but He will come to them and He did. Yet when He returned to heaven after forty days who would be with His disciples? That’s why He asked His Father to send the Holy Spirit who will substitute in His place. He will be another Counselor just as He was their counselor when He was with them physically. When will He come to them?
“After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command:“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:3-5
After ten days, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in each one of the believers on the day of Pentecost. After that the disciples were never the same again. Only those who have the Holy Spirit in them have this blessed hope in the promise of Jesus, “Because I live, you also will live.” What is this life Jesus is referring to here? It is for both the spirit to be made alive and resurrection of the physical body. This is to fulfill what was already written.
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan. 12:2
This means that everyone will be resurrected whether you are a believer or not. We will not remain as spirit but everyone will have another body. Those who have died a long time ago like Cain, his body is now all dust but it is still there, he will be resurrected in order to face judgment. The Jehovah’s Witness believe in soul sleep. Meaning that those who will not be saved will no longer exist. Then we are no better than cows or chickens if we cease to exist. But that is a lie. Everyone will have a body but will go either to hell or to heaven. Those who will go to heaven will have the same body of Christ and there will be no more sickness, no more pain and no more death. But those who will go to hell will have a body that will experience pain and the heat from the fires of hell described as a lake of burning sulfur. Not only will they experience pain and heat but continues forever. This is what Jesus said,
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matt. 25:46
Who is the righteous here? Those who have heard, believed the gospel, and responded to the terms of Jesus. Only then will they be righteous.
“Repent and believe the good news.” Mark 1:15 For at the moment one comes to Jesus on His terms, immediately will be given the Holy Spirit? They are righteous because they are now one with Christ and His righteousness is imputed or credited to them. Jesus took their sins and exchanged it with His perfect obedience to all the commands of God. Jesus is now back in heaven and took back all the rights and attributes as God. Therefore He is able to save as many people who will come to God through Him. Salvation for sinners is now complete and the Holy Spirit is now doing His work to give life to our dead spirits. Once born again, the Spirit produces divine love so we can love the Lord and the evidence of that is he or she will obey.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” John 14:15, 21
When Jesus died, only His body died. His spirit never died because He never sinned. Every human being has sinned and has fallen short of the glory of God. When the Scripture said that the “wages of sin is death,” our spirit is separated from God and eventually our physical body dies. It is described as being spiritually dead and has no relationship with God. A dead spirit has no understanding and discernment of spiritual matters. It is like a dog, though he has a master, he can only imitate but there is no communication on the same level. Only after our spirit is made alive will we accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, understand and discern.
Jesus now explains the two deaths as earlier recorded in the gospel of John.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24.
This refers to every born again believer who are still physically alive. His spirit is immediately made alive, no longer separated from God and certain of spending eternity in heaven. Then Jesus said this of our physical bodies,
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40
This is the gospel that saves those who look to Jesus by faith and believes.
“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.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
This binds together all the truths about Jesus, who He is, what He came for and what He accomplished for the redemption of sinners. Without Him being resurrected there would be no hope for anyone. He would have failed if he sinned even at the last minute. But He didn’t. He had no hatred for those who nailed Him to the cross. He even asked His Father to forgive them for they know not what they were doing. That’s why in the end He said,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46
Christ’s spirit was never separated from God for He never sinned. While we,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
Therefore, God received His spirit and accepted the offering of His body as full payment for our sins. Another fulfillment of God’s will for Jesus.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. 53:5-6
And for better understanding of this truth, Paul explained it this way,
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21
All our sin was charged to the account of Jesus and God punished Him for your sins and mine, for sins He did not commit.
“For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isa. 53:12b
His resurrection was the vindication and acceptance by God of Christ’s sacrificial offering of Himself to atone and pay for our sins and God was pleased to accept it.
“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 earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11
In Jesus’ humanity, His spirit and body showed a visual representation of God in the flesh.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Heb. 1:3
If you are a believer and have trusted by faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord,
“To them (you) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27
For the born again believers, this is our blessed hope.
Intro: As I checked what’s going on in the Philippines from the internet, I saw this picture of women weaving coconut leaves in preparation for Palm Sunday. Of course this would be sold to the public as a tradition on the Sunday before Good Friday. And we know from the account that when Jesus entered the temple he was overturning tables of those who were selling doves and sheep for the sacrifice thus turning the temple into a market place. I wonder how many of those who welcomed Jesus with their palm branches were disappointed that the Jesus they were expecting to deliver them from the tyranny of Rome was a loser. I believed some have turned around in their disappointment to cry crucify Him because He could not save Himself. But what was the reason of His coming to Jerusalem? He did not come riding in a horse to be a conquering King with an army behind Him. But He came riding a lowly donkey, a beast of burden. They missed the significance that He would be their burden bearer. He would be the Lamb of God that will replace all the sheep that is being slaughtered on the day of the Passover.
In our reading yesterday from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses gave the message of the Lord to this new generation of Israelites who would enter the promise land as was promised by the Lord. He recalled to them how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt and how their forefathers entered into a covenant with God at Horeb which they failed miserably. Today we will look at the New Covenant and the terms that God requires for anyone to enter in covenant with God. But to appreciate this new covenant we need to see the old and understand the difference and why there’s a need for a new.
“Jesus Christ and the New Covenant”
“These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he made with them at Horeb… Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you: it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess… This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deut. 29:1; 30:11-16, 19-20.
What has changed with this covenant that the Lord gave the Israelites? First of all, the covenant came from God. He sets the terms and the people were given the choice to accept and enter or not. What were the terms of this covenant? They were to love the Lord, walk in His ways, and keep His commands. That’s the people’s part to keep. Then anyone who enters into this covenant with God will have life and prosperity otherwise those who don’t will die and be destroyed. How would God save these people who enters into this covenant? Through a sacrifice by blood taken from a life as payment for sins in order to satisfy the demands of His law that He set with the first people He created, Adam and Eve. The first law God gave man and the consequence when broken thereof was what God said to Adam.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Gen. 2:16-17
Notice that the command was given to the man because Eve was not yet created. We know that after he ate of the forbidden fruit he did not die physically. He even lived 930 years after. Did God not do what He said He would do, that he would die? God is true to His word and right then Adam died spiritually. This is the same law that applies to everyone from the creation to the end of the world, “For the wages of sin is death.” This death is spiritual and if not given this new birth, the spirit will be eternally separated from God in hell. Was there anything Adam could do to save himself having spiritually died? Nothing. And God has to apply the law on him otherwise God will be unjust and not be true to His Word. How then will Adam and Eve be saved? They were saved by the grace of God. They were both undeserving because they have broken God’s law. How many sins did they commit? Only one sin and they died spiritually. But God came to their rescue and provided the means to save them. Life has to be sacrificed and blood shed to atone for their sins to serve God’s justice. God provided that life from an animal. This was their substitute for now.
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife.” Gen. 3:21
The skin was taken from an animal and before God can skin the animal he must first be killed. This is how God saved them. Blood was shed and the skin that now covers their shame represents the righteousness of Christ that is imputed to a believer to cover his and her shame. And God did it all.
The next sacrifice of an animal and the shedding of blood came by Abel.
“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the first born of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” Gen. 4:2-5
Notice Abel sacrificed the firstborn. And though Cain offered the best of his crop that offering was rejected because the crops had no life and blood. Cain became the first founder of religion. He chose his own way to please God. God accepted Abel’s offering being the only way God would forgive sins. The writer to the Hebrews affirmed this requirement written in the NT.
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Heb. 9:22
This was also how God delivered the Israelites, descendants of Abraham, from slavery in Egypt. They were set free when God killed all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians but spared the Israelites when they obeyed and followed the instruction to kill a lamb, a year old males without defect and to take some of the blood and put on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. When the angel of death came to Egypt it passed over the houses when it saw the blood and none of the firstborn sons of the Israelites were killed. After this they were to observe the Passover as a remembrance of their deliverance from slavery.
However, they could not keep from breaking their covenant with God, So God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah revealed a new covenant.
“The time is coming,” declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house if Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them.” Jer. 31-31-32
This promise was fulfilled when God sent His Son to be the Lamb of God. He will replace all the lambs that were to be offered year after year for the atonement of sins. His sacrifice will be once for all. For those in the past who believed and entered into covenant with God starting from Adam were saved for they believed and did what God commanded them to do. Though they were weak to keep the covenant their faith in the blood of the lamb saved them. And now through the prophet Ezekiel God revealed a new covenant He will put in place of the old with this promise.
“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.” Ezek. 36:25-29
Has God fulfilled this promise? Yes, He did by sending His Son into the world. Jesus left heaven and took a body to die as the Lamb of God.
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offering and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God.’” Heb. 10:5-7
Is this new covenant of God limited only to the Jews or Israelites? Not anymore because the Jews rejected Jesus, the Messiah God sent. Thank God, God opened heaven to us Gentiles and calling us to Himself.
As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her my love one who is not my loved one,” and, ‘It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” Rom. 9:25-26
For this is what Jesus came to tell the world the message from His Father.
“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
How do both Jews and Gentiles have this eternal life? By believing in Jesus and the terms of this new covenant. What does God require? Jesus said,
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15
The one who truly believes in Jesus must repent first, by turning away from their sins before they can believe the good news. It follows that if one does not repent, he does not believe in Jesus. Peter preached the same message.
“Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.” Acts 3:17-20
And what is the good news to be believed?
“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.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
Did Jesus suffer at the hands of wicked men by their own choice? No. It was already foretold that He would suffer even before He was born. And he said,
And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Luke 9:22
Jesus was not a victim and helpless in the hands of wicked and evil men but,
“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Acts 2:23
Jesus fulfilled everything that was written about Him. As we enter into the Holy Week we ought to remember what He did for us and appreciate all the more how God saved us by His grace at the expense of His Son, taking the punishment that should have been ours.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” Gal. 3:13-14
And what is this new covenant that is now for us? At the Lord’s Supper,
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matt. 26:26-28
“Jesus accomplished and paid it all.” Glory and honor belong to Him.
Intro: All through the week I was waiting on the Lord to give me the message He wants us to hear today. As Sunday was drawing near, I still had no clear word from the Lord. Thank God, in our reading from “Everyday with Jesus Bible” yesterday, the Lord impressed in my heart what He wants us to hear today. I believe the timing is perfect because we are sending Frank and Grace away and commissioning them to be on mission with Jesus. Grace is joining the army and will encounter many men and women. After her training the Lord already has a plan to assign her to another military base. She will be a co-missionary with Jesus to bring the good news. I believe she is ready in the short time since she was saved last year to be sent out to Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth. She has been discipled, equipped how to share the gospel and has led two of the grandchildren of Frank to Christ and was recently baptized. She is now ready to be sent to the battlefield in the Lord’s army. She will not be alone in this battle because it is the Lord’s battle. She will not be fighting against flesh and blood but rescuing the perishing held by the devil and sin. She will go on the authority of Jesus together with Him on mission. And this is her mission order,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
But this is not just for her and Frank but to all of us who are here in Reno, being our Jerusalem, to be witnesses unto Jesus. Every believer has the Holy Spirit in them, but notice what the word says, “When the Holy Spirit comes on you.” This is empowerment by the Holy Spirit for ministry as witnesses for Jesus. Just as Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit right after His baptism to start off His ministry, we too must be filled with the Spirit to be powerful witnesses for Jesus to a lost world. This is the third phase of our purpose “to make Him known.” We become effective witnesses to Jesus when we have grown to knowing Him and are becoming like Him. And from our study in “Experiencing God” we will be invited by God to join Him in His work of redemption for this is what we are saved for. As we grow in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, dying daily to ourselves, only then will the Holy Spirit have full control to give us the power and words to fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Today we will look at how Jesus fulfilled His mission and how He continues His mission through us.
“Jesus the Missionary”
“One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake”…They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places…The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:22, 26-29, 38-39
Jesus set the captives free:
God the Son came down from heaven, lived in a body prepared for Him in the flesh to free those who are held and enslaved by the devil. They have no power to free themselves and they need to be delivered by a power greater than the one who is holding them captive. Just like when God sent Moses back to Egypt to free the descendants of Abraham held in slavery by Pharaoh. Similarly, in the spiritual realm all humanity are prisoners held by the devil. We have all been given to disobedience because of our sinful nature. The only one who can set us free has to have power greater than the one who is holding us. And God is the only one who can do that. God sent His one and only Son for this very purpose.
“Since children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Heb. 2:14-17
Jesus came for this very purpose to fulfill what has already been prophesied about Him in the OT and has accomplished all these through the cross.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.” Isa. 61:1-2
God the Fathers draws people to Jesus.
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Luke 8:42b-48
As Jesus was going about His mission, He revealed to His disciples that the work He was doing was not His own. He was only doing the will of His Father by joining His Father in His work of redemption. Jesus said,
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself, he can do only what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the son also does.” John 5:17, 19
Who was at work in this woman who was bleeding for twelve years? God was. What was her condition? She was already bankrupt spending all her money on doctors that could not heal her. But when she touched Jesus, she was immediately healed. What drove her to go to Jesus? Her faith. This faith was from God, we call saving faith. It was not from her and even her coming to Jesus was from God. Here’s what Jesus said about this,
“No one can come to me unless the Father draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44
The last day is when she dies in the body. Her spirit will be raised up to join Jesus in heaven. What is the assurance of her salvation? What Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you, Go in peace.” Jesus gave her His peace and she was now at peace with God. The power that came out of Jesus was power for her salvation. Jesus knew it and she had to confess it with her mouth. After her experience of healing she fell at his feet trembling in reverential fear confessing Jesus as her Lord. That’s how one gets saved.
The Holy Spirit gives life through Jesus.
“Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of twelve, was dying… While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. He parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.” Luke 8:40-42a, 49-56
This is another account of Jesus raising the dead to life. All of these physical events that happened has a spiritual significance and consequence. What people witnessed was to confirm the claims of Jesus who He was and what he can do. This third account shows that He is the only one who gives life to our dead spirit. This is the condition of every man as revealed to us by Paul.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to lived when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Eph. 2:1-2
This child was not only physically dead but spiritually dead as well. God sent Jesus to this poor girl of twelve to give her life. Jairus, her father is a believer in Jesus to have called Him to heal her daughter. God used this death to be a testimony that Jesus is the one who gives life. Again the apostle Paul affirmed this in his letter to the churches of Jesus Christ.
“But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Eph. 2:4-5
All these three accounts revealed Jesus, who He was and what he came to do. He delivered a man possessed by the devil. Did this man have power to deliver himself and be set free? No. That is just like all of us. We may have been enslaved by different sins and vices that we had no power to free ourselves. Then there is this woman who has used all her resources to spend on doctors and could not heal her. When she had nothing left, then she came Jesus who was now her only hope. She had to put all her trust in Him alone to save her by just even touching the edge of His garment. Then there is this young girl who is dead. What can she do? Nothing. But God by His grace made her spirit alive and gave back her physical life.
All these are in fulfillment of what was already revealed about Jesus. This is a testimony to the world about Jesus and by believing they may have life. The apostle John and the other gospel writers wrote for this purpose.
John 20:30-31“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Did Jesus cease to be a missionary? No. He is still at work to this very day. He is working through those He has saved and given the Holy Spirit known also as the Spirit of Christ to empower them to do what He did. In fact it is Jesus who does the work through us when we put our full trust and faith in Him. Notice the responses of the first two of the accounts, the one delivered from demon possession and the woman who was bleeding for twelve years.
The one released from demon possession begged to follow Jesus. Instead Jesus gave him a command to go home and tell how much God has done for him. I believe that everyone who has experienced salvation will follow Jesus and cannot keep the greatest thing Christ has done for them, salvation of their soul and not tell others. The first ones they would want to be saved are their love ones, then their friends and then to anyone whom the Lord will bring to their path. The woman who was healed is a picture of one who is drawn by the Father to His Son and by what she has experienced publicly confess with her mouth Jesus Christ as Lord. There are no secret followers of Jesus and they will not be ashamed to share the gospel that saved them.
The last one who was brought back to life and those who were with Jesus were told not to tell anyone what has happened? Was Jesus contradicting Himself? No, because He has not yet fully accomplished what would save the rest of the world. He had to die first and then be raised from the dead. This is the good news that everyone who has experienced God’s salvation is to tell. This is the gospel that saves and gives eternal life.
“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.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
Now we can tell because Jesus has accomplished what he came for. Before He died, He cried out to His Father and heard by those who were at the cross, “It is finished.” He has done the will of God and finished the work. God accepted His sacrifice and raised Him from the dead on the third day. He is alive and is back to His throne in heaven with the sole authority to save. His work of salvation continues but who will work with Him? Everyone who has the Spirit of Christ in them is called to be a co-missionary with Him. And this is how He will continue His work of redemption.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:12-13.
What will glorify most the Father through the Son? When we continue to do the work of God in redemption. What is the prayer that we may ask that Jesus will certainly answer? Will we respond as Isaiah did?
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go and tell this people.” Isa. 6:8-9a
Will you answer the call and make this your prayer today?