Posts tagged jesus
This Sunday commemorates Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem and is called Palm or Passion Sunday, depending on your tradition. All four gospels record this significant and prophetic event and I highly recommend you read them for yourself. You can find them in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19. As I reread each account myself here are four things that stick out about this historic event that we still commemorate today.
Jesus Fulfilled Prophecy.
Not only was Jesus the long awaited King that the Jews had been longing for but his very entry into Jerusalem was just how it had been prophesied over 500 years earlier.
Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
I can imagine that Jewish theologians had been trying to reconcile their picture of a King (think David or Solomon) with the idea that he would ride in on a little colt, his feet barely off the ground. Yet here he was, having given his disciples an awkward command on how to get the colt, fulfilling prophecy that had been written centuries earlier. This was a plot twist that I don’t think even Hollywood could dream up.
What’s with the Palms?
The imagery of palms was a part of the Jewish culture and often reflected honor and nobility. 1 Kings chapter 6 and 7 record how Solomon had them as part of the sacred carvings of the temple. In Mark’s account of Jesus entry, people are spreading palm branches out on the ground along with their cloaks in what I imagine would be a sort of ancient red carpet that probably helped keep the dust down.
The significance of this honor paid to Jesus also foreshadows what is to come. In Revelation 7:9 there’s an incredible description of worship that – you guessed it – includes palm branches. So we see here Jesus is fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah and also pointing forward to an even greater scene of worship that is to come.
The chances are pretty good that at some point you’ve sung a song at church with the word ‘Hosanna’ in it. As Jesus made his entry there was definitely some worship going on but what does Hosanna actually mean? It was a desperate cry from an oppressed people living under Roman rule that means ‘Oh save’ or ‘Save us now’. He would certainly save them but not quite how they imagined.
Where’s the Victory?
The Jews had been waiting and their King was finally here! Sure he was riding on a baby donkey and didn’t have a sword, armor, or an army but he was there none the less. As the shouts of Hosanna went out, everyone anticipated what this long awaited Kings next move would be. How would he save them? Would he be like David and his mighty men? Would he be like Solomon with wisdom and riches? “Save us now”, they cried!
One week later, many of these same people who had shouted ‘Hosanna’ would be shouting ‘Barabbas’ . They would trade their long awaited King for a thief and a murderer. He hadn’t fulfilled their image of a King or brought about their idea of salvation and so they turned on him.
But God in his sovereign grace had a plan that included a vastly different idea of what salvation was to look like, one that we’ll be celebrating this coming week. I’ll leave you with these words from Revelation 7:9-10:
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ” Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
That’s my King!
The Story Of Jesus As Told By His Friend John is the the Gospel of John put into contemporary English and told as a first-person account. Where John uses the pronoun “we/us/our” he is referring to himself and the other disciples. Let John be your narrator. He was there when it all happened and will tell you the story in his own words. Download this great title to read within The Bible Study App for Free HERE!
In a few weeks, millions of people all across the Earth will be asking these questions and more, as people gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Some will be reaffirming their faith in this history changing event and others will be skeptically pondering whether it’s even true. Whether you’re a pastor preaching on Easter Sunday or not, much like the Christmas season, this time of year focuses us on the events which happened 2,000 years ago that have huge implications for our life today.
Whether you’re preparing a sermon, having conversations with friends, or teaching your kids, here are some great resources that help unpack the reality of what Jesus did for us!
Resurrection: The Capstone Arch of Christianity
Hank Hanegraaff offers a detailed defense of the Resurrection
Evidence for the Resurrection
Presents evidence and logic for conversations about the Resurrection
No Wonder They Call Him Savior: Experiencing the Truth of the Cross
Max Lucado takes you through the drama of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
Death By Love: Letters from the Cross
A compilation of heartfelt letters written from a pastor to his people that explains Jesus’ work on the cross
Christ’s Words from the Cross
C.H. Spurgeon discusses the seven words that Christ uttered from the Cross: Forgiveness, Salvation, Affection, Anguish, Suffering, Victory, and Contentment.
Make sure and download the free Bible Study App and take your books with you wherever you are across all your devices!
It’s Aloha Friday! Today we feature Da Jesus Book as a free download for The Bible Study App. This translation was written by 26 native speakers of Hawaii Pidgin in the islands. They worked from the original Greek, with the help of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, and also referred to English translations and commentaries. Here’s a sample of what Da Jesus Book has to offer:
3 Da guy dat watch da gate, he open um fo da sheep farma. Da sheeps hear da sheep farma’s voice wen he call dem by dea name, an den he take dem outside. 4 Afta he take um outside, he go in front dem, an da sheeps go wit him, cuz dey know his voice. —John 10:3-4
If someone advised you to “Take courage!”, how would you respond? “Why?” might be my immediate response.
In Joshua 1:6-9, we see the Lord commanding Joshua to be “strong and courageous three times. But if we take a closer look, we also see the Lord commanding Joshua to obey the Law three times as well. The Lord actually exhorts for bravery only once on account of the battles he would fight (verse 6). After that, all of Joshua’s courage would be needed regarding loving and keeping the Law. Why would he need this? Deuteronomy 31-34 gives us the answer. Once in the Promised Land, the people would all “turn to foreign gods…”(Dt. 31:16, 20). Immediately after this, in verse 23, God exhorts Joshua to courage.
Tackling “giants” is nothing to God. Joshua had seen giants before and had hoped for the chance to overcome them 40 years earlier (Numbers 13-14). However, Joshua had also witnessed unbelief and rebellion and their effect on people. Joshua needed a love for God and His Law even more than strength, courage, and determination. It would take all these things to complete the mission God had given him.
It takes courage to obey God and even more courage to lead unwilling people to do the same. Giants are one thing; tackling the hearts of rebellious people is another.
For those of you in leadership, Joshua’s story also offers another valuable truth: we don’t get our validation from people. Affirmation is wonderful, but man’s approval (or lack thereof) does not determine our identity in Christ. I realize that affirmation is important and valid, but is it vitally important? …Important enough to tempt us to rebellion? In our world today, it takes more courage to be obedient and pursue holiness than it does to simply be “relevant.” Obedience in the life of a disciple is the natural overflow of a life impacted by the Gospel. The validation that counts to those who follow the master comes from the master. Joshua needed to understand this truth and it’s this truth that would ultimately make him a better servant and leader for the people.
As you go out into the next chapter of your life, don’t forget the things God has told you, shown you, and promised you. The giants you may be facing are one thing, and God can take care of those. Sickness, pride, divorce, child trafficking… are all giants God wants to and can slay. It’s the giant of our heart—our devotion to Him—that God won’t force (see Rev. 3:20). Give Him access to this “giant,” and there is nothing God can’t do through any of us.
Open the door to Him daily. Be faithful with His Word—spoken and written. Be strong and courageous!
Here are some questions to consider:
1. Are you trying hard to be relevant, or do you simply need more courage to be obedient?
2. As you look at a situation today, are you more concerned with what people think, or what God thinks?
3. In your leadership (or followership) are you more concerned with failing people, or disobeying God?
4. What safeguards (good habits and relationships) do you have in your life that help you see Jesus clearly in every decision?
Jeremy West has been on staff with Youth With A Mission since 1995. He teaches and runs training programs in the fields of discipleship and leadership development, worldwide.
“Leadership is a responsibility, not an identity; we are all disciples, first.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- The Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23
The very nature of joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.
- C.S. Lewis in Surprised By Joy
Are you in a spot in your life where joy seems to be missing? Maybe it’s been so long you’re not sure if you’ve actually ever experienced joy?
Where do we find joy?
The message that popular culture communicates through music, movies, television, and the internet is a message of selfishness, yet this is where so many people turn to get answers for the deep questions of longing and belonging that they have. Popular culture answers our questions with another question: What do you need, want, or desire?
So for the person asking where to find hope, the culture answers, “The hope you need is found in you.” or “Just do what makes you feel good.” If the answer to our need for hope is ourselves, is it any wonder why suicide is at an all-time high in the U.S.?
Last week we heard the story of Nick Vujicic who responded to Jesus and found the hope he so desperately needed. The type of hope Nick found isn’t in anything our culture creates because it’s only found in Jesus. If you’re looking for joy in your life, the answer is the same. It’s only found in Jesus and it only remains when our perspective in this life is firmly rooted in him.
The Apostle Paul –in Galatians 5- talks about what happens when our relationship with Jesus takes over our life and the Holy Spirit becomes the source of life we draw from. This type of life source is evident by the fruit it produces in our lives. So how do we experience joy? Where do we find it? We find and experience it when we place our faith in Jesus and make him the foundation and source for our life. And this joy is different than what the world has to offer. We don’t have joy because of our circumstances, we have joy despite them.
One of my favorite examples of this is found in Acts 16:16. Paul and Silas had just been stripped naked, beaten by a mob and put in prison – all for helping a slave girl. How did they respond? Instead of having a ‘woe is me’ attitude we see them praying and worshiping God in their prison cell in the middle of the night! How many of us have a hard time singing on Sunday because of a rough week and here are Paul and Silas – having endured incredible physical pain – keeping their perspective not on their circumstance but on their Savior.
So what about me?
The challenge is the same for us today. Despite our circumstance, if we keep our focus on Jesus, our perspective will be long-term and we can see past the pains of today to the hope of tomorrow. This is where we find joy – in the assurance that our God reigns, he’s alive with us, and we will be with him forever! So despite what you’re going through take joy and no matter what, always keep your perspective on your Savior and not your circumstance. When believers do this the world takes notice and the real answer to the question is revealed: Jesus!