Religious Studies

Up from the grave He arose


Matthew 27 and 28, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

imagesV0OBB9KO

So, the Romans nailed Jesus to the cross and waited until He was dead. (they thought that was the end of the trouble maker)  Then they handed the body over to Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. Joseph wrapped the body in a long sheet and placed it in his personal tomb which was carved out of a large rock. He then rolled a great stone across the entrance.

The Bible says on the next day, (the Sabbath), the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we are requesting that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then tell everyone he was raised from the dead!
Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

But something spectacular would happened on Sunday morning. The Bible says, early on Sunday morning, as a new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

  • O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
  • For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake and an angel came down from heaven, rolled the stone aside, and sat on it. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran from the tomb quickly. They were frightened but also filled with great joy. They rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

The Last Supper


Matthew 26:17-30
New Living Translation (NLT)

The Last Supper

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
800px-Última_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5[1]

When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”

He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”

And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”

And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark, my words-I, will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

What does it means to follow Christ?


Empty72813-2-051

In Luke 9:23 Jesus gives us a preview of what it means to follow Him. “… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and pick up his cross daily and follow me”.

Although taking up your cross involves denying self, the main focus is about following Christ. The cross or burden we carry has to do with the choices we make with our will, the responses we have in our actions, and the attitude we carry in our hearts.

Our cross means that we are putting to death every decision, every response, and every attitude in our life that is not consistent with the love of Jesus Christ.

What if you gave God total control of your life ?


81413PD010-1


Life could be much more interesting than it is, if we would yield the Master’s call and allow God to chart a course and direct our steps. It is well documented in Biblical history that those who had surrendered control to God lived more prosperous and meaningful lives than those who did not. Even so, most of us scoff at the idea, because we like to take all the glory for our achievements. We are like the leader of the pridethe thought of giving up control or sharing power makes us nervous.

So, even after we have confessed our sins and promised to follow Jesus, we still hesitate to give Him total control. It is only when our backs are up against a wall that we entertain any idea to give up control, but only temporary. Therefore, as soon as we have crossed the Red sea or the Jordan, or survive the storm we are back to business as usualrebellious and disobedient..

Giving God control of your life means you are part of a team. God now becomes  team leader and director; you become a follower. Unfortunately, this is where the problem begins. Most people do not see themselves as followers. They think it is demeaning. In one of the most tightly contested presidential primary, a Journalist suggested that one of the candidates settle for running mate. The candidate replied with this: “You will never see me running for vice president”.

My friends, you can rest assure; there is nothing demeaning about following God and surrender  total control to Him. The prophets and the Patriarchs and the apostles did, and after more than 2000 years we are still talking about them.
Still, like it or not, God is already in charge, but He refuses to act until you ask Him to. The Psalmist David in one of his dialogues writes the following: “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusted in him”– Psalm 34:8.

Does your life reflects Christ?


Thecross-8659

As one who strive to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, I try to focus on the big picture–the crown that awaits me at the end of my journey. Still, I realize it is a steep climb, and I cannot do it on my own. Therefore, to be successful, I must pay close attention to Jesus’ teachings, and the things He stood for, and most importantly what He did on the cross at Calvary.

Hence I most certainly cannot allow myself to get distracted by trivialities, like, what is right and what is wrong. Instead, I should attempt to let my life be a mirror that reflects Jesus Christ.

Too often Christian folks get embroiled in social fights that result in heated exchanges. And sometimes these back and forth arguments and name callings get so out of hand that it is hard to differentiate the saved from the unsaved.

The apostle Peter says Christians should

Be tender-hearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:8-9).

I especially like what Paul wrote in one of his letters to the Church in Philippi:

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining as bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, you will be proud that you did not run the race in vain and that your work was not useless (Philippians 2:14-16).