The new life is not a myth, and it is not like going on a low-fat or low carbs diet. Neither is it like setting a New Year Resolution. If, anything, it is part spiritual and part physical. The spiritual — is completely out of the control of the flesh, but the physical–is like a ball in your court. Therefore, whatever we say and do will say a lot about the life we live.
Naturally, the heavenly father carved out a new life for us when He sent His Son to die. Sadly, though, none of us can embrace this new life until we get rid of the old life. In essence, the old life died with Christ, but many of us continue to hold on to its memories that we find it difficult to embrace the new life.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the apostle Paul hinted at the new life when he writes, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”.
Of course, Paul was speaking from experience. We have read about his dramatic conversion on the Damascus road. The Bible states that Paul then Saul was breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples. He even went to the high priest requesting authorization to go down to Damascus and bound anyone he finds spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, all that furor and hatred would change once Paul experienced the new life. (Read Acts 9:1-19, Acts 22:6-21, Acts 26:12-18).
Therefore, the apostle knew first hand that without the new life we are like the unruly Israelite who could not shake the memories of the meat they ate in Egypt and Lot’s wife who hung on to the memories of Sodom to her death. Still, if anyone doubted Paul’s thesis, then He need not look further than the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3:1-8.
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one can do the signs you are doing, unless God is with him.”
“How can someone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to the flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Everybody has a thorn in the flesh. One that you desperately want to remove. Ironically, you have asked God to take it away several times, but nothing happens. It seems God did not hear you. So, you begin to wonder whether He is listening to you at all. Before long doubt and fear set in and you find yourself going backward instead of forward.
Let me be clear, a persistent thorn in the flesh is not a sign that your heavenly father does not care about your well-being, neither does it mean that He did not hear your request. However, It could mean that He has already acted upon your request, but you have refused to accept His proposal. It could also mean that the thorn is the execution stake you need to pick up daily to follow Jesus.
The Apostle Paul struggled with a thorn in his flesh too. He had petitioned God to remove the thorn three times, but every time he did, the answer was always the same, “My grace is enough for you”, (Read 2 Corinthians 12:9). Of course, like all of us who suffered from thorns in our flesh, the beloved Apostle, was not happy with the answer God gave him, but after three, tries he realized he was fighting a losing battle.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, as I reflect on the thorn in my flesh, I am reminded with absolute assurance that the closer I get to God is the less concerned I am about a thorn in my flesh. Further, the thorn in my flesh may be one thing that keep me grounded, resolute and steadfast in pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.
Scripture Reference: Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-49; John 20:1-21:25.
After the Romans had crucified Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea had Christ‘s body placed in his own tomb. A large stone covered the entrance and soldiers guarded the sealed tomb. On the third day, a Sunday, some women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and Salome are all mentioned in the gospel accounts) went to the tomb at dawn to anoint the body of Jesus.
A powerful earthquake took place as an angel from heaven rolled the stone back. The guards shook in fear as the angel, dressed in bright white, sat upon the stone. The angel announced to the women that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, “He has risen, just as he said.” Then he instructed the women to check the tomb and see for themselves. Next he told them to go tell the disciples.
With a mixture of fear and joy they ran to obey the angel’s command, but suddenly Jesus met them on their way. They fell at his feet and worshiped him. Jesus then said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see me.”
When the guards reported what had happened to the chief priests, they bribed the soldiers with a large sum of money, telling them to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body in the night.
After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the women near the tomb and afterwards at least twice to the disciples while they had gathered at a house in prayer. He visited two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and he also appeared at the Sea of Galilee while some of the disciples were fishing.
Sunday, March 24th is Palm Sunday in Christian tradition. Today Christians all over the world celebrate the day Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on a donkey to shouts of, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday. Today is call Palm Sunday because the crowds covered Jesus’ path with branches of palm leaves as He rode by on the donkey. It was a joyous welcome.
The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19.
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what (Zechariah 9:9) the prophet foretold five hundred years earlier.
“Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. An extremely large crowd spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the city got stirred up and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
- Carissimi; Sunday’s Mass: Palm Sunday (frjeromeosjv.wordpress.com)
- Palm Sunday (givemeliberty01.com)
- That first Palm Sunday. (jessicahof.wordpress.com)
- Matthew 21.1-17 Fan or Follower? Palms or Power? JUMC 20130324 (mysundaysermons.com)
- The Jewish Roots of Palm Sunday and the Passion (thesacredpage.com)
The second coming of Christ is imminent. It is not a myth as some people think. We know this as fact from a conversation Jesus had with His disciples. After braking the news to His disciples that He must leave them and go to His father, their countenance changed. “Do not let your hearts be troubled”. He said. “Trust in God. Trust in me also. There are many rooms in my father house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back, and I will take you with me. Then you will also be where I am” (John 14:1-3).
However, the time of arrival of Jesus’ is not known. He said so himself. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating, and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and devoured them. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at a hand-mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Nevertheless, you should bear this in mind: If the owner of the house had known at what time during night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and deny the thief access. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:36-44).
Likewise, if the five foolish virgins had known what time the bridegroom comes they would have stayed put instead of going out to buy oil for their lamps. Still, it should not matter whether Christ returns today or tomorrow. The main thing is to get our acts together and live in readiness and anticipation of His impending return
- Christ’s Coming Again (frted.wordpress.com)
- Do you honestly think the gospel of Jesus Christ is declining? (truthorshame.com)
- March 4 @ Matthew 23-25 (phyllisbenigas.wordpress.com)