04/20/2014 in: Inspirationon
04/19/2014 in: Food for Thoughton
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey he fulfilled prophecies that had been made hundreds of years before. His entrance was greeted with the laying down of palms and shouts of ‘Hosanna’.
Hosanna was a cry of hope from an oppressed people living under Roman rule and it means ‘Oh save’ or ‘Save us now’. They had been waiting generations for the Messiah and he was finally here! Just a week later Jesus would save them, but not in the way they ever would have imagined.
He wasn’t a King like David whose rule and reign was only for a limited time. He is a King forever, and his life, death, and resurrection are just as powerful today as they were 2000 years ago.
In an age where we have continual access to the news from around the world, it only takes a moment to see that the shout of hosanna is still needed. At this moment there are people living in poverty, oppression, and hopelessness. While they may not say the word hosanna, they are certainly in need of saving and many do cry out on a daily basis for some glimmer of hope.
What do you need to be saved from?
You may or may not live in a country where you are oppressed by a ruling party like the Jews were. You probably aren’t waiting for a king or savior to come and make things right for you and your family. You may actually have all the food, shelter, and security you need. But this cry of hosanna may still be one that you can relate with. When were separate from God – our creator – we can have all the things of the world and still be as lost and hopeless as ever.
Jesus was the only one who could fulfill the cry of hosanna. His saving supersedes circumstances and physical needs and reunites us with our creator. It’s this kind of saving grace he displayed on the cross. We didn’t deserve it or earn it but he so desperately loves us that he died to save us. His was and is the only answer to the cry of hosanna.
As you remember Jesus resurrection this weekend be reminded that the saving grace of Jesus has the power to change everything!
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
– Jesus in Luke 19:10
04/18/2014 in: Inspirationon
By Olive Tree Staff: David Mikucki
Jesus’ followers were convinced that He was the coming King—the Messiah of Israel who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. All His disciples were severely disappointed when the unthinkable happened: Jesus was crucified. The coming, conquering King had come and didn’t seem to have conquered. Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Messiah? If He wasn’t, then… now what?
That’s the backdrop for Luke 24. With Jesus dead, His followers were distraught. They were on a seven mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking about everything that had just happened, trying to sort through it all—still unaware that Jesus had been raised. Jesus met them on this road, but He kept them from recognizing Him (Luke 24:17). To them He was a stranger passing on the road. They told this ‘stranger’ that they thought Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel. They said that some of their friends were telling what they thought were fairytales about Him rising from the dead.
At this point, Jesus says something that shocks everyone. He tells his followers that the prophets said all of this was going to happen: the Messiah would suffer and then enter into His glory. No one expected the Messiah to suffer! Who expects a King to suffer? Jesus says the prophets expected it. Then in Luke 24:27, He explains the things concerning Himself from Moses and all the prophets. Jesus went to each book of the Bible and explained all the things about Himself (see also Luke 24:44).
People these days have a lot of different ideas concerning what the Bible is about. Jesus has His own idea. The Bible isn’t a book of rules we have to follow in order to go to heaven (John 5:39). It’s not just a bunch of do’s and don’t’s. It’s not just a bunch of neat stories. Jesus said the Bible is about Himself. Humanity’s biggest problem is that we sin our whole lives and then we die and enter into judgment. The Bible teaches us all we need to know about our Savior—the King who suffered and died in our place and rose from the dead three days later to make us right before God and give us a new life like His.
One of the last things Jesus did before He ascended into heaven was to tell us that the Bible is about Him! Jesus is our Savior—the only Savior—and He says that all of Scripture points us to Him: the One we really need. When we study the Bible, let’s remember that it’s all about Jesus.
Olive Tree has got some great resources that explain Jesus in parts of the Bible we might not have expected to find Him. Here are some of my favorites…
- Gospel Transformation Bible Notes by Crossway
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Free!)
- Christ in the Old Testament by Charles Spurgeon
- Christ in the Passover by Rose Publishing
- Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament edited by D.A. Carson and G.K. Beale
David is a front end web developer at Olive Tree. He also writes on his personal blog, And the Rest of It.
04/18/2014 in: On Saleon
Today we highlight The Hidden Life of Prayer as a free resource for The Bible Study App.
The Hidden Life of Prayer conveys the fragrance of the inner sanctuary. It shows a unique acquaintance with the glories of the presence of God found in the prayer closet. David MacIntyre covers the subject of prayer in eight chapters, providing wonderful examples and moving incentives, alongside helpful instructions regarding prayer. This short treatise may well change how you approach the Lord in prayer.
Find it in the in-app store or go here for download instructions.
04/17/2014 in: Inspirationon
I’ve been reading through the Bible chronologically this year with one of the Olive Tree Bible App reading plans. Right now, I’m reading the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper. I’m struck again by Jesus.
At the last meal they would have together before the cross, the Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, takes off his robes, wraps a towel around himself and washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-20). I’ve read this account that’s only recorded in John’s Gospel dozens of times. Yet, like the Holy Spirit often does, this passage was made anew as I read it recently.
Here’s what struck me: Judas was heavily influenced by Satan (if not possessed) at this point (Luke 22:36, John 13:2), but Judas was present for Jesus to wash his feet. I find this humbling and encouraging. What?!? Yes, encouraging. Why? Because even though Jesus KNEW Judas was going to betray Him, Jesus served him. Jesus knew what was in Judas’ heart. He knew the betrayal was coming. Jesus knew the anguish that was coming. The beatings, the scourging, the agonizing walk to Golgotha, and the ultimate torture, the cross. Yet, even in this moment of humbling Himself, Jesus washed Judas’ feet, this man Judas who was pivotal in fulfilling the Scriptures and prophecies about the Suffering Servant.
Jesus humbled Himself and SERVED His greatest enemy.
I don’t know about you, but I have trouble serving my closest loved ones. It is difficult to humble myself, to serve, and to put others’ needs before my own. I can’t fathom putting a backstabber’s needs in front of my own.
At the same time, that is what I am. I am the backstabber, the betrayer. I am the one who put Jesus on the cross. It is my sin that put Jesus there. How many times have I turned from God’s grace to live, act, be, and do what I want for my own selfishness? But Jesus served me by going to the cross. This is humbling because of my sin, but encouraging because of how much Jesus loves me. Even though Jesus knows me, He served me. Even though Jesus knew that I would betray Him, He went to the cross willingly.
John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
Here is my example:
I am to serve, love, and do for others like Jesus did for me. I am to put down my own needs, my own pride, and serve others, even those who will betray me. Even those who will turn their backs on me. I am to love and serve as our Lord and Teacher Jesus Christ loved and served me.
By Olive Tree Employee: LaRosa Johnson
Growing up in church I was always taught that the most important thing to remember about the Bible was the gospel. If you didn’t remember anything else, you should know that Jesus Christ died for your sins. At the time that was great. It meant I only had to focus on four books of the Bible and could simply gloss over or ignore the other sixty-two.
Later on I began to spend more time with the other books of the Bible. As I did I saw how the history of Israel led up to Jesus via prophecy and how the rest of the New Testament taught us how to live the Christian life. It wasn’t until years later that a friend of mine challenged my cursory understanding of the Bible by telling me that all of the Bible was about Jesus. I thought my friend was blowing smoke. Sure, the Old Testament is about the history of Jesus’ family & lineage, but how is it about him? How do Proverbs and Song of Solomon relate to Jesus? Needless to say, as I thought about it and read the Bible more, my friend’s statement started to make sense. Jesus Christ is on every page of Scripture, whether we see it or not.
It’s because of my own experience in trying to understand the gospel throughout the entirety of the Bible that I’m excited about Crossway’s Gospel Transformation Bible. This study Bible is the first of its kind as it shows you how Jesus Christ and the gospel can be found in all sixty-six books of the Bible. Unlike many study Bibles that only help you understand the text based on its immediate context, the Gospel Transformation Bible notes focus on explaining passages as they relate to redemptive history and the gospel. This means that while you may have fewer notes overall, each note is composed in a way that points you to how the gospel message is communicated in light of the context. This study Bible also contains introductions for each book of the Bible that give you a window into how the gospel is found in that book as well as a thorough topical index.
Now, what if you already own the ESV Study Bible? Even if you already own it, you’ll still want to own the Gospel Transformation Bible. No matter the passage you’re studying, the two work together as perfect companions to give you the clearest understanding possible. Where the ESV Study Bible helps you to understand the passage in its immediate context, the Gospel Transformation Bible helps you relate that same passage to the gospel.
All of this puts the Gospel Transformation Bible in a unique position to help Christians everywhere understand the gospel from Genesis to Revelation, and not just in the four gospels. This has quickly become one of my favorite study Bibles and I’m using it every time I open the Bible. Don’t be like me in taking years to understand the fullness of the gospel. Pick up this resource and get there must faster than I did. In closing, I’d like to share a verse from Shai Linne, one of my favorite Christian rappers, as he explains the importance of the gospel in his song “Expository Preaching”:
Y’all should be mindful of this devout thesis//
All of the Bible is about Jesus//
The Old Testament- Jesus Christ concealed//
The New Testament- Jesus Christ revealed//
This truth of the Lord- Christ boldly proclaimed this//
In Luke 24 on the road to Emmaus//
The law, the prophets and the teachings of Apostles//
All of these point back to Jesus and the gospel//
So if the work of Christ is what the Word is about//
Ultimately, it should be what the sermon’s about//
Forget applause, you’ve got to let the cross rock ya//
All roads in the Bible lead to Golgotha//
Whatever the text, faithfulness demands//
That we should hear the echoes of nails hitting His hands//
Don’t try to be original- say the old story//
And watch your people changed as they behold glory//
Here’s a short video of how the Gospel Transformation Bible notes look and work in the Bible Study App:
04/16/2014 in: Inspirationon
Luke 24:13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
It’s easy to read this passage and think “How in the world did they NOT recognize Jesus?!?” But taking into account what they said, I can appreciate what they were going through. They were sad, hurting, afraid, and confused. And Jesus kept them from recognizing Him.
A few days ago I ran into a former co-worker. It had been over a year since we connected, so there was a lot to catch up on. After the initial questions of “how are you doing” and “it’s so good to see you” small talk, the conversation turned to our former workplace. She left about nine months after I did, and gave me some insight on how things went. Hearing some of the stories, change, and “occurrences”, I was again reminded of the goodness of God and how I often have my eyes closed to the reality of Christ and His direction in my life. A renewed sense of the sovereignty and grace of God swept over me during our conversation.
I don’t always recognize Christ in my daily life. From my everyday encounters, to those monumental life events, do I truly open my eyes to see Jesus? In times where my family is sick, finances are tight, or work is stressful, do I remember to look for Christ? Fortunately, Jesus gives us “breaking of bread” reminders to gently lead, guide, and direct us.
Luke 24:30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
Like these two disciples, I need the jolts, nudges, and reminders to open my eyes to the risen Christ. Thankfully, Jesus “interprets to us in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” and leads us by The Holy Spirit to open our eyes.
35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
I am thankful that Jesus makes Himself known through everyday events. It’s up to me to proclaim the risen Christ to others and remember that “The Lord has risen indeed!”
04/15/2014 in: Inspirationon
By Olive Tree Employee: LaRosa Johnson
Holy Week is a somber time of the year for me. As I look at the gospel accounts that detail the crucifixion of Jesus, I often ask myself, “What’s so good about Good Friday? Jesus died. He was brutally murdered. How can that possibly be good?” From there, I am reminded of the weight of my own sin that forced him to come and die on the cross. Ultimately, I find relief knowing that Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb, but rose again victorious. Yet, why did God do all of that? He did it to pay the penalty of our sins that we might be forgiven.
Yes, when we look at the cross, we are asked to look at the subject of forgiveness and reconciliation. The perfect place for us to turn in the Bible to look at the forgiveness found in the cross isn’t in the gospels, but it is found in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Romans 5:6-11 to be exact. In this short paragraph we see statements like: “Christ died for the ungodly,” “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” and “we were reconciled to God.” Jesus Christ didn’t come to bring salvation to those of us who were already on his team; no, he came to give his life on behalf of his enemies so that we could be forgiven and found righteous in the sight of the one perfect and holy God. We were saved to be spared from the wrath of God (v. 9), even though it came at the expense of the shed blood of God’s only begotten son.
Now, just think about the cross for a moment and look at Paul’s illustration in verse 7. As a husband and father, the odds are pretty good that I’d risk my life and die to save my family. I might even be persuaded to do it for a friend. Ask me to do it for my enemy and I’d tell you that you’d lost your mind! But, this is precisely what Christ did for us, with us being God’s enemy because of our sins against him. He took our punishment upon himself. By his blood he justified & saved us, and we are reconciled to God through his resurrection life. How mind blowing is that?!
We can still take this a step further. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 tells us that we, as Christians, have now been given the ministry of reconciliation that was once Christ’s. This means that it is now our job to: 1) forgive others like Christ forgave us, and 2) tell others about the forgiveness that can be found in God. First, we should look at our own lives and how awful our sins are in the sight of God; yet, as vile offenders against his law and holiness, he chose to forgive and bring about our reconciliation. If God was willing to do that for us, how much more should we extend that same compassion toward everyone in our lives (Luke 7:41-43, 47)? Even as we’re forgiving others, it is also our job to tell them that their sins can be forgiven through the blood of Christ. Jesus didn’t die just for me, but his mission was to save so many more.
While Holy Week might indeed be a somber time, I’m glad that it can also brighten my spirit. Jesus didn’t just die; he died to pay the penalty for my sin. He didn’t just rise again, but he rose to bring about my forgiveness and righteous standing before God. As a result, the cross demands forgiveness. The cross was the stipulation of our forgiveness with God, and it is also the vehicle that demands we forgive others in the same manner that we’ve been forgiven. For me, that’s what this week is all about.
Easter is less than a week away. As we prepare our hearts and minds for remembering the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, here are a few resources that might help in your final preparations.
The bestselling Evidence for the Resurrection answers each question and addresses each theory with historical, archaeological, and cultural proofs. It presents evidence and logic that has convinced critics over the years and will equip you to with the right information when you talk to someone who questions the resurrection story.
Christ in the Passover looks at the origins and symbolism of the Passover and how the Old Testament Passover is relevant today through God’s Son, Jesus. Christ in the Passover shows six ways that the Passover in the Old Testament points to Jesus, who was called the “Lamb of God.”
Feasts of the Bible celebrates and explains the meaning behind the different feasts and why they are important to God. It contains an easy-to-read chart that provides the name and an explanation of each holiday, date of observance, and reveals how each holiday points to Jesus as the promised Messiah.
The Names of Jesus is a bestselling tool for learning the names, character and personal attributes of Jesus. The 50 names are featured in an easy-to-use format along with their Scripture references, the meanings of each name, related titles, and more. Interestingly, the names of Jesus come from both the Old and New Testaments.
Produced out of the conviction that the Bible is a unified message of God’s grace culminating in Jesus, it is a significant new tool to help readers see Christ in all the Bible, and grace for all of life. The Gospel Transformation Bible Notes features specially prepared material outlines passage-by-passage God’s redemptive purposes of grace that echo all through Scripture and culminate in Christ. The notes not only explain but also apply the text in a grace-centered way.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon discusses the seven words that Christ uttered from the Cross: Forgiveness, Salvation, Affection, Anguish, Suffering, Victory, and Contentment.
Preaching the Cross is an inspiring book containing the reflections of experienced pastors, and dedicated to “the next generation of preachers of the cross.” Collected and introduced by Mark Dever, each chapter of this book addresses a different issue in the lives and ministries of contemporary pastors.
Combining scripture, quotes, and brief but powerful meditations, readers will discover the greatest gift that Jesus Christ offers to us is found in eternal life, but there are so many more things He has done for us – and does for us – when we enter into relationship with Him.
Max Lucado examines the symbols surrounding Christ’s crucifixion, revealing the claims of the cross and asserting that if they are true, then Christianity itself is true. The supporting evidence either makes the cross the single biggest hoax of all time, or the hope of all humanity.
Death by Love is a unique book on the cross of Jesus Christ. While many books debate the finer points of the doctrine of the atonement, what is often lost are the real-life implications of Jesus’ death on the cross for those who have sinned and have been sinned against. Written in the form of pastoral letters, Death by Love outlines the twelve primary effects of Jesus’ death on the cross and connects each to the life of a different individual.
In Jesus: The Only Way to God–Must You Hear the Gospel to Be Saved? John Piper offers a timely plea for the evangelical church to consider what is at stake in surrendering the unique, universal place of Jesus in salvation. If you’re concerned about the current state of evangelism–and the church–this book is a must-read.
We hope that you find these titles not only helpful, but also inspiring and encouraging.
04/14/2014 in: Inspirationon
I can’t think of any bigger understatement than saying what we celebrate this coming weekend is ‘significant’. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus absolutely changed everything! When Jesus died and rose again – three days later – it reversed the centuries old curse of sin and death that was over all humanity.
Jesus fulfilled hundreds of impossible to fulfill prophecies about the messiah that had been written centuries before but the most amazing of all was that after three days in a grave, he was alive! What did this mean? In the history of the world no one had ever lived and died a sinless life. Jesus – God in the flesh – did. In that instant the sin that we’re all born into was stripped of its power. Things on this Earth would never be the same. As John ends his account of Jesus life he says, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” His resurrection proved he was who he said he was.
What does this mean today? It means absolutely everything! What Jesus did made a way to be free from the power that sin once held over us. Where sin makes us strangers and even enemies of God, Jesus death and resurrection makes us sons and daughters of God. This type of reconciliation had never been known and now it’s accessible to anyone who believes. In Romans 5:10-11 the Apostle Paul says, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Not only did Jesus resurrection set into motion the reconciliation available to all who believe but we now get to be agents of his reconciliation while we await the restoration of all things. The book of Revelation tells us of this day that will come: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Resurrection, Reconciliation, and Restoration; this is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus! This Easter and in the days following let’s not only be reminded of the power of what Jesus did but let’s be actively living in the reality of it.