Jesus Restores Peter

After denial Peter is restored

Daily Spirit & Word, 510: Jesus Restores Peter.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 26.

Good morning my friends, I’ve just come back into the study after being with the Lord in my garden. It’s beginning to look a lot like summer, the wonderful blue Spring border is starting to be replaced by the warmer red, orange and yellow tones of my new flowers. The Seasons in the garden are awesome, but what’s even more amazing is the way that Jesus gives us new Seasons in life; today we’re going to discover more about Peter’s new life after being restored by the Lord Jesus and indwelt with the Holy Spirit a few days later.

Review; all last week we were thinking about Jesus Resurrection Appearance to His disciples at the Sea of Galilee: He’s watching them from the shore when they decided to go fishing, they’d been fishing all night and had caught nothing for all their efforts. Jesus shouts to them from the shore and asks if they’ve caught any fish, they say, “No!”, then He tells them to let the nets down on the right side of the boat and they’ll catch some. As they do so, John realises that it was Jesus who was speaking. Peter puts on his clothes and jumps into the water and swims ashore. He meets with Jesus and the Lord cooks them breakfast. Now today, we’re going to see Jesus taking Peter aside and interviewing him.

John 21:15-19 15  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
18  I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
19  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

As Jesus was cooking the breakfast of fish on the charcoal fire, it would have brought back to Peter’s mind, like a flash-back, the time that he was warming himself by a fire after Jesus had been arrested, and he first denied Jesus:

John 18:15-18 15  Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard,
16  but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17  “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”
18  It was cold, and the servants and officials stood round a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

Yes my friends, it’s often strange how the Lord chooses to bring back memories of our slips and failures in our walk with Him. What truly amazes me is how gentle the Lord’s rebuke to Peter is: He asks him three times; “Do you love me?” Each time Peter responds with, “Yes Lord!” until the last time, when he finally blurts out, feeling hurt because of Jesus probing questioning, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Our English translation of the Greek here doesn’t do the questioning very much justice, because the words for ‘LOVE’ in Jesus questions are different in the Greek language. The Greeks had four words for love; each indicating a different kind of love. If we were to use them properly, we would not simply put the word ‘love’ in their place.

Here Are the Greek Words For LOVE and their Meaning:

GREEK WORD FOR LOVE MEANING
AGAPE This word was used in Greek literature to refer to someone who was generously favoured by a god. It has the idea of a person giving all his or her love or favour to another. It was used to speak of parents giving all of their love to their only child. So in the New Testament it is used to make the same point. God gives each of us all of His love.
PHILEO This Greek word has the idea of emotional love. While AGAPE emphasizes the complete giving of love to another person, PHILEO emphasizes the affection, emotion, a fondness one person has for another.
EROS EROS refers to love between a husband and wife. It is more than sexual ecstasy because it also includes embraces, longing, and caring.
STERGO STERGO primarily refers to love between parents and children. It sometimes refers to love between people and their ruler and to love between a dog and his owner / master.

The first time Jesus asked him “Do you love me?” The Greek word was: Agapao: From which we get Agape: meaning in table above. It’s a sacrificial kind of love. The KJV translates this word not as simple ‘love’, but Charity: Charity is a sacrificial kind of love. It means putting something else before your own affections or desires. It’s like when Jesus said, “Not my will, but Your will be done”… Jesus is asking Peter, “in the order of your affections for other people, do you love ME more than everybody else?” Peter answers, “Yes Lord! You know that I love You.” The word is not the same, Peter said, “You know that I Phileo you” Here Peter is expressing his deep friendship affection for Jesus more than the others. Can you see, simply using love doesn’t do the Greek or the Text of the Bible adequate justice. There’s far more to Greek LOVE than our English language allows.

The next time Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” He’s saying do you Agapao me: Is your love for me sacrificial. Are you dying to yourself to give Me this affection?

Peter responds in the same way: “Yes Lord, You know that I Phileo You”… (Fellowship / Friendship affectionate love).

Then Jesus asks Peter a third time: but this time Jesus uses a different word in the question: Jesus replaces AGAPE with PHILEO… He’s not asking Peter for his sacrificial love, but his affectionate, friendship and fellowship. Peter’s is HURT that Jesus would ask him a third time. But his answer this time, must have brought with it a much deeper conviction and true knowledge that he really did love Jesus more than anything else in the whole world, because Jesus had finished his probing of Peter.

The Lord has restored Peter: “Feed my lambs, look after my sheep, feed my sheep” Each time after the question Jesus is giving Peter a mission and a purpose for those deep and probing questions.

My friends, if Jesus was to ask you that question today how would you respond? If He were to ask you three times: “Am I your Lord? Am I your Lord? Am I your best friend?” How would you respond?

Notice what Jesus doesn’t say:

He didn’t take Peter aside and say, “Peter, do you remember when you denied me?” No! Jesus goes right to the HEART of the matter. He’s telling us all today that it’s a Matter of our HEART AFFECTIONS.

  • Do we love Jesus more than our fellows?
  • Do we love Jesus more than our world?
  • Do we love Jesus as our Best Friend?

When we get our HEART affection for Jesus right, then everything else in our Discipleship makes sense. We’ll automatically want to live in obedience to the Father’s will as well. We’ll LOVE Jesus commands and we’ll walk with Him every single day. Yes my friends, the heart of the matter really is a matter of the heart’s affections.

The HEART of the MATTER really is a matter of your HEART’S affections for the LORD.

The emphasis of Jesus questions about our LOVE for Him, is not that it’s an EXCLUSIVE love, like a husband must love ONLY his wife, but a measure of our love: Quantitative rather than exclusive. He wants us to love Him with our ALL. Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength. All that we can muster must be focused upon serving and loving the Lord. If it was an exclusive love then we’d not be able to LOVE others as we love ourselves. No Jesus point is about our total love, the quality and quantity of how much we LOVE Him and others. We’re called to a sacrificial love for others and a fellowship / friendship and sacrificial love for Him.

Matthew 6:21 21  For where your treasure (Heart’s Affections) is, there your heart will be also.

Where are your HEART’S affections set today?

Remember, Jesus was gentle with Peter, but He’s so good that He can’t just leave Peter to wallow or worry about his past failures and denials. Jesus will also sort us out too, but be assured He’ll do it in a way that He intends to restore us and lift us up and set us upon the right pathway again. Trust Jesus with your whole HEART today. Jesus will restore you my friends.

Points to Ponder:

  • Has the Lord shown you today any areas of your life where you’re affection has been more on the world, other people or other things rather than the Lord Jesus Christ? 
  • It’s so easy to be self-deceived and think we are serving the Lord, when in actuality we’re just self-serving. Let’s be certain today, that in everything we’re doing for Jesus, we’re really doing it for Him and for His GLORY, not our own. 

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to thank you today. You’ve shown me that I need to get my heart priorities right in order to serve you. I know that You are calling me into a deeper and more committed friendship and fellowship with Yourself today. Help me to lay aside all other affections of my heart and enable me to truly love You. Amen.

Have an exciting day loving and serving the Lord Jesus Christ, remember to seek His fullness of the Holy Spirit for your walk.

Don.

Every Day With Jesus: 26: Jesus Restores Peter.

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Jesus Restores Peter.

 

From The Miracles to The Miracle Maker

Jesus cares and provides fish and bread at the resurrection appearances on the beach

Daily Spirit & Word: 509: From The Miracles to the Miracle Maker.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: John 21:7-14.

Good morning my friends, Saturday’s are always so special for me, because it’s the day of; rest and relaxation, a time to be with family and friends, a time to rebuild what the working week has drained out or us. Some of my friends relax so much on Saturdays that they spend the whole day in bed or in their night-clothes relaxing on the couch. Why? Because their working week is so stress-filled or exhausting and demanding, by the time Saturday comes around all they are ready to do is FLOP.

Today we’ll discover the tired, exhausted and hungry Disciples and the Lord Jesus coming to their assistance with a cooked breakfast for them to eat, also that Jesus is your friend and as a friend He comes to you for fellowship: He’s promised to do this many times in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and today we’ll see the very first time that it actually happened after His Crucifixion and Resurrection from the dead.

John 21:7-14 7  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
8  The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
9  When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
12  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
14  This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus Close Friends Get The Revelations:

The first thing that happens after the Miracle of the catch of fish that didn’t sink the boat or break the nets, was one of the Disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, recognised who it was that told them to drop the net on the right side of the boat. That revelation comes to the one who was closest to Jesus, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. We know that disciple was John, the Gospel Writer and the very same John who wrote 1, 2 and 3 John and the book of Revelations. How close are you to Jesus today? If you are close like John, then you are going to get a some amazing revelations of the Miracle Maker.

As I pointed out yesterday: Jesus PROMISE is that He will come (John 14) He’ll come and REVEAL Himself to us and in us. He’ll come and have fellowship. He’ll come and we’ll EAT together (Rev 3:20)… It’s Awesome to know this as a TRUTH, but it’s even more awesome when we experience the risen and resurrected Lord’s presence and we get our own REVELATION. Not just once, but regularly. No wonder John wanted to communicate it so clearly throughout his Gospel and all his letter and the book of Revelation. Jesus wants a closer walk with you today and He’s waiting and watching and calling out to you today to come to Him.

It’s been my own experience that the Lord has made known to me that He is present, many times. I’ve had that feeling and knowledge that Jesus is HERE: Whilst washing dishes (I hate washing dishes, but I began to sing praise songs, then suddenly Jesus came, and the task that I was doing seemed so much easier and even joy filled, I was in the presence of Jesus and I began to cry with joy). He’s with us always, of course, from the moment we decided to follow Him as Lord and receive Him as Saviour, but there are times when He manifests Himself and makes Himself more KNOWN. Just like He did with the Disciples in all His resurrection appearances, somehow they didn’t recognise Him immediately, until the right moment when they eventually get the revelation: “It’s Jesus”. As we’ve just read above, that’s what happened to the beloved Disciple John whilst in the boat. Everyone else had their eyes on the Miracle, but John was focused upon the Miracle Maker.

It’s always going to be the friends of Jesus who’ll get the REVELATIONS. This is something that’s true throughout the whole Bible, it’s the friends of God, that He chooses to reveal His secret plans: Moses, David, Abraham, Elijah, etc… So I’m going to ask you that question unashamedly today: “How much of a close friend of Jesus are you?” One of the ways to know is this; how obedient are you being to Jesus commands? (see yesterday’s reading). You see my friends, we’ll also get a revelation of who we are when we come to Jesus. We’ll know that He loves us and we love Him. We’ll know that He loves us, WHEN we love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We can only love Him like that with the HELP of the HELPER, the Holy Spirit who indwells every true follower and believer.

It’s the friends of the LORD who’ll get His Revelations.

The Fallen Believer Runs To Jesus:

Notice secondly the impulsive Peter: Every time I read this portion of John’s Gospel, a great big smile comes over my face. I always think “I want to be like Peter” I want to run to the Lord, to be rushing up to Jesus. Upon hearing the news from John, that the person who’d told them to cast the net, the one standing on the shore, was Jesus, you’ll note that Peter does two things:

First: Peter Puts on His Outer Garment:

It’s an amazing few words; “he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off)”. Why did Peter feel the need to put on his outer garments? He’d have been naked from the waist-up: Reminds me of Builders working on site on a hot summer’s day when I was a boy, they’d all be lying around with their shirts off at lunch-time. Peter, had obviously taken it off because working the net was much easier without the clothing getting in the way. However, what was it that made him put it on? Well, many have speculated different reasons, but I believe it was like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, who hearing the Lord’s footsteps in the Garden after eating the forbidden fruit run away and hide. Then the Lord makes clothing for them, for they were naked. It’s SHAME that Peter feels my friends, for he knew he’d sinned when he betrayed the Lord Jesus. When Peter denied the Lord three times and the cock crowed, it was then that he remembered the Lord’s words, warning that he’d deny him. Now Peter is ashamed when he hears John’s words, “It’s the Lord” and tries to cover up his shameful nakedness. He’s aware of his sinful condition before the Holy and Righteous Lord Jesus Christ.

From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker

That shame is what we experience sometimes when we’ve been living in sin. We too want to run and hide ourselves away from the Lord. That’s why so many fallen Christians won’t come back to church, they know that in the company of other believers, the Lord is likely to show up and make Himself known to them. They’d rather stay at home safe from the presence of the Lord.

That shame is also why non-believers refuse to come to the Saviour. It’s because they love sin and they are ashamed and frightened that their evil deeds will be exposed. Of course no sinner would articulate it that way, we only know this by God’s revelation on so many places in the Bible.

John 3:19-20 19  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Peter had to put on his outer clothing to cover up, it was in instinctive thing, something that the Police know when they are interviewing suspects. When someone is guilty, they’ll try and put something in front of them; their hand over their mouth, something between the interviewer and the suspect. So sinners need to try and hide behind something in God’s presence. That’s what Peter was doing when He heard it was Jesus, trying to cover up his sinful, shameful nakedness. Have you ever felt exposed when you heard a Sermon that hits home to where you’ve been sinning in life? I have and I just wanted to hide in the pew. God knows how to get to our hearts doesn’t he, but His purpose in doing so is always to restore us and clean us up so we can be of further useful service in His Kingdom.

However, even though Peter’s natural instinct is to hide his sinful, shameful nakedness, he does something extraordinary next;

Next: Peter Dives Into The Water:

Yes my friends, that’s the sinner diving into the water to get to Jesus faster than the boat is able to carry him. Peter can’t wait for the boat to get to the shore, so he jumps into the water because he’s desperate to get to Jesus. No thought is given to the others who need to tow the net full of fish ashore, now Peter knows that it’s Jesus, all he can do is get to Him as fast as he can.

This is one of my favourite passages in the whole Bible my friends, I just LOVE Peter. Because it reveals part of what happened to me and many other brothers and sisters I’ve known since I started following Jesus. When I realised just how much a sinner I was, how I’d fallen short of God’s Holy Standards, How I’d broken His commandments, there is nothing else that I could possibly do to remove the stain of sin in my soul. None of my good works would balance the scales of God’s Justice, sin must be punished or purged and I knew it. Unless I responded to the call of the Gospel, I knew I was headed for hell. But then I responded the Good News, “I don’t need to suffer God’s wrath and anger against my sins, I could trust in Jesus.” I knew I didn’t deserve Jesus’ forgiveness, but I knew that I could be forgiven, because of Jesus love for me. So many of my friends had turned to Jesus as well, they know they don’t deserve God’s amazing grace, but He gives it freely to all who will come to Him in Repentance and Faith in Jesus Christ. Once I knew what to do, and why I needed to do it, nothing on earth would have stopped me trusting in Jesus Christ for Salvation.

That’s what Peter was doing, He was coming to Jesus as fast as his body could carry him. He know Jesus was the ONLY way to be saved. My friends, I’ve actually seen people RUNNING down to the front of church to give their lives to Jesus, when they Holy Spirit convicted them of their need of The Saviour. I’m going to encourage you to listen to His voice today; to be like Peter, to be like my friends and so many that I’ve seen. I’m going to encourage you to come running to Jesus Christ right now. Don’t listen to your brain, be impulsive and just do it. Come!

From the Miracles of the Catch of Fish and the Un-burstable Nets: Peter comes running to the Resurrected Miracle Maker: The Lord Jesus Christ.

When they get to the Miracle Maker, they find the fish cooking and He’s giving them bread and fish.

Jesus wants to eat with you too my friends, to have fellowship with you. To be in your company and to provide for your nourishment in life. Oh what a glory it is today, to get this awesome awareness that Jesus is right inside you… Word’s can’t explain. But you need to try hard and take your eyes off the miracles and mover from the miracles to the miracle maker.

Imagine though, if your church was to have a fellowship breakfast on the beach with fish cooking on the fire: how many would show up? I’d be in that number as quick as a flash 🙂

Points to Ponder:

  • When was the last time you KNEW Jesus was with you?
  • How quick are you to recognise the voice of the Lord in your life?
  • Tomorrow, we’ll see that after the breakfast Jesus takes Peter aside and has a conversation about His love and devotion. Today let’s ponder on what we’ve been thinking about:

Jesus performs a Miracle in order to reveal Himself to His closest friends, and then because He knows they a tired from fishing all night, Jesus provides a meal of fish and bread for them to eat with Him. He’s right there today with you my friends. He loves you so much and wants you to experience His presence. That means not just knowing about Jesus, but actually getting your own revelation that He’s actually with you by His Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ; Thank you so much for who You are, how You reveal Yourself to us and how it happened with the first followers. Please help me to recognise Your interventions in my life quickly, help me not to focus so much on the Miracles that I miss the Miracle Maker, it’s Your face that I long for more than the Miracles You can perform. Help me to realise that being in Your presence is far more precious than anything else that I can have or that will happen in my life. Amen.

Have an awesome Saturday, relax as much as you can, because the LORD needs you tomorrow to Worship, to Fellowship, to Encourage you and build you up and to strengthen one another in the faith. I’ll see you on Sunday 🙂 I hope and pray you’ll get closer to Jesus today. Don.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 25: From the Miracles to the Miracle Maker.

Doubting Thomas

The day that Doubting Thomas met Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 504: Doubting Thomas.

The Difference Between Honest Doubts and Stubborn Unbelief.

40 Days With Jesus. Day 20: Doubting Thomas.

As our church fellowship goes through 40 Days With Jesus. We’re all considering the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus afresh. Some have been followers of Jesus for many years, but it’s amazing the way that fresh light is being thrown upon the pathway of righteousness. I’m really happy that the Lord is working in so many of our lives today and we’re discovering more about Jesus and ourselves every single day. You know my friends, it’s OK to have honest doubts, as long as we don’t remain stuck in those doubts and that we’re really looking for the answers to our questions. A person stuck in doubt is a person who’s refusing to move. That might be because of fear or even further doubts, what if it’s true, what will that mean for me? We can move through the tunnel of honest doubt today. But there are others who’re like CAVE explorers, the further they go into the cave, the further away they are from the light. Stubborn Unbelief is like that dark cave of doubt that refuses to even consider the evidence or the truth.

John 20:24-31 24  Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
27  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30  Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31  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.

I know a man who refused to come to the Lord Jesus, because He thought he wasn’t ready for a HOLY life, you know the life that means you get all boring and can’t do this or can’t do that… It’s really funny, but Christians have been better known for what they don’t do, rather than what they actually do. Thankfully the tide is turning and because of the recent Government Austerity measures and the way that Conservative and Lib-Dem policy has made if much more difficult for the poorest people in the whole of the United Kingdom and those who’ve suffered most during this depression are those who are the most vulnerable. It’s been Christians who’ve come out with a great BIG LIGHT shining all around them and giving GLORY  to God; because they’ve responded to the NEED, they’ve manned FOODBANKS to give people food for free who are experiencing real hardships in life. We must thank God for the Governments Austerity Measures, because it’s enabled us to DEMONSTRATE REAL LOVE IN ACTION. However, we don’t rejoice that it was because of these measures that the poorest have suffered the most. Now we’re beginning to turn the tide of Public impressions of Christians change, from that bad impression of Christians, now we’re becoming famous again for what we do because we LOVE Jesus. i.e. It’s by our LOVE for others that Christians are once again being seen as expressing true faith, others are seeing that we are Christ’s disciples because of what we do in loving response to people’s needs.

Honest Doubt is like a long road tunnel, but your driving through and headed for the light.

Thomas, was not there in the Upper-Room when Jesus appeared the first time. However, a week later and Thomas was there with the others. But that leaves me with a question that I’m looking for answers to today:  “Was Thomas’ statement, “I refuse to believe, unless I see the nail-marks in His hands” was this STUBBORN UNBELIEF? Or was Thomas’ statement simply expressing openly his HONEST DOUBT?

STUBBORN UNBELIEF: is like a deep dark cave, the deeper you do, the further away from the light you get. Great is that darkness of stubborn unbelief.

On the surface it’s hard to answer that question, it would seem a clear case of stubborn unbelief or refusal to believe, but as we look deeper and follow Thomas’ life in the Bible, and get to know the man a little bit more, we’ll begin to see an honest, openhearted and questioning kind of a character. For example just about a week before Jesus died, we see Thomas and Jesus again, recorded by John in his Gospel, John 14.

John 14:1-7 1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
2  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
4  You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.
7  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

This is another of those famous passages that have been read out at countless hundreds of thousands of funerals; funerals of both Christians and Non-Christians, because it’s in the Church of England Funeral Book and as Ministers of a Parish, we’re required by law to conduct funerals for everyone, regardless of their faith, if they desire a Minister, we’re duty bound to attend to them. So I’ve taken many hundreds of funerals myself for people who’ve said they didn’t believe. But I’ve read out this, one of the most exclusive statements our Lord Jesus ever made at those funerals of unbelievers. We’ve just got to hold out the lantern of faith in the darkest of caves.

Thomas was HONEST and OPEN and quickly asked Jesus for clarification when He didn’t know something. You know my friends, because of Thomas, we’ve been given one of the Brightest Statements contained within the Bible. It’s that statement where Jesus is telling us all in no uncertain terms, that there is NO OTHER WAY for human beings to enter in to Heaven, other than through faith and trust in HIM alone. We can’t get there because of our own goodness or our own good deeds or good works, because that still leaves us stained with sin. Jesus quite rightly expresses to Thomas’ honest question; “We don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” and he gets the most beautiful and brilliantly dazzling light filled answers in the whole Bible; “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE”. In other words;

  • If we want to know the way to Heaven, we must come to Jesus.
  • If we want to know the TRUTH about God and Heaven, we must come to Jesus.
  • If we want to know how to get ETERNAL LIFE, then we must come to Jesus.

Why? Because He reveals: “I AM THE ONLY WAY TO THE FATHER”, “YOU MUST COME THROUGH ME”.

Now we can just dismiss this claim as the rantings of a mad-man or Jesus was just a simple deluded man or Jesus was telling us the TRUTH. An Honest Doubter, is like someone going through a long road tunnel, they know that the further they are going, they are getting closer to the light, but a person who is in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, wants to remain in that condition of darkness, they’re like someone who’s going into a deep dark CAVE, they are getting further and further into the darkness and going away from the source of light with each step they take.

My friends, are you headed for the light? At the end of your honest doubts and sincere questions are you desiring to know the way, the truth and the life? That’s the most important question you’ll ever ask yourself in life.

If you are in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, I want to encourage you today, there is still HOPE, because I’ve known sinful, stubborn unbelievers who’ve hated the light and hates me coming to them to talk about Jesus, because each time I did, I brought the light into their dark lives. They were happy, trying to hide in the cave of unbelief, but each time I appeared, it was as if I was carrying that brightest of lights in the deepest darkness, it’s a blinding light to those who are in stubborn unbelief. But we must, must, must, must continue to keep it shining. For when we do we’re bringing the light of the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ into the darkness of someone’s life.

You don’t know why they are in or want to remain in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, why they won’t or refuse to even consider the evidence, openly and honestly. You don’t know why, but the LORD does and He is the one who is best equipped to bring them out of the dankness where they are hiding, into His marvellous, glorious and beautiful light. Where they will find, life and joy and peace and happiness. Why are they hiding? Perhaps the last half of John 3 will give us a clue. The Bible always has the answer somewhere 🙂 People are hiding in their dark caves of stubborn unbelief because of sin in their lives, they are refusing to come out into the light. They LOVE the darkness the Bible tells us. God has shown us the answer my friends, but it’s not always so simple as that, because each person is different.

What a brilliant passage in the Bible, I’m so glad the the Apostle John, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, kept DOUBTING THOMAS in the story of Jesus resurrection encounters. Because if they hadn’t then we’d probably be a lot more harsh and critical of people who have Honest Doubts and sincere questions regarding the faith once delivered to the saints. Don’t be afraid of people who are expressing their sincere doubts, because Jesus can very easily deal with them, they are in a tunnel that is headed for the light. However, don’t even be afraid of people who are in STUBBORN UNBELIEF, because, if Jesus doesn’t come back in the mean-time, you’ll have ample opportunity to share the LIGHT with them again. You’ll be SALT in their wounds of Unbelief. We know that salt stings open wounds and so it does those who are in stubborn unbelief, but it also know that salt has a curative effect; SALT is good. So keep being Salt and Light for those in any kind of darkness my friends.

Conclusion: It’s wonderful that Thomas’ Doubt is in the Bible. Because of Doubting Thomas, we’ve got some wonderful proofs of Jesus RESURRECTION and Divinity. Thomas said, “My LORD and My God”… He saw, touch and believed. Jesus said, that those who believe in Him afterwards would be blessed. My friends, we ARE blessed too, because Jesus will come into your life in just a real a way as He did with Thomas, so that you will not linger in doubt, but you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel of sincere and honest doubt that is looking for the answers. Jesus is still “THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE”… He always will be, so come into the light, stop doubting and believe.

We can also see that what a person says, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what they are like deep down inside. We’d probably assume, if we didn’t have more about Thomas in the Bible that he was a Stubborn Unbeliever, but we know that he wasn’t like that, because of what the Bible tells us about him. However, we don’t know other people’s live or why they say what they do. Something terrible may have happened, that makes them NOT WANT to believe that there is a God or a Jesus that came back from death to life. They may have lost a precious loved one as my friends, ROSA, Read how she Encounters Jesus Kingdom did (you must read her story of her encounter with the risen Jesus and His Kingdom Power). But STUBBORN UNBELIEF is a sin, because it’s a refusal to come into the light or to even consider the truth.

Doubting Thomas
Doubting Thomas

My friends, those of you who have trust Jesus, YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. When you trusted Jesus, you came into the light and now you ARE light for those in the darkness of unbelief, your the torchlight for those who have honest doubts, you are the light that shines up the pathway towards faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Keep going my friends. Don’t be afraid to break into the dark caves where you’ll find those who are hiding from the Light, who are refusing to even consider the questions and the doubt, they are in Stubborn Unbelief, but there is always HOPE for them my friends, carry the light of Jesus into their lives today. Let your light shine up and perhaps they’ll see that the darkness of the cave is not a nice as the brightness and beauty we’ll see when we come out into the light of Jesus Christ.

I hope you’ve been able to see today the difference between honest doubt and stubborn unbelief. One is looking for evidence and answers to their questions, the other is refusing to come into the light. Only God really knows, but we must just continue to be obedient and be SALT and LIGHT to both.

Have an AWESOME Bank Holiday MONDAY.

Don.

P.S. Even though it’s BANK HOLIDAY Monday, I’m still going to be at the Prayer Meeting in Church tonight at 7.00pm for Fellowship, we’ll begin praying at 7.30pm. If you are free you are welcome to come along and join with me. Don.

 

 

 

 

 

New Penny Black Stamp

Daily Spirit & Word, 501: New Penny Black Stamp.

Good morning my friends, I’ve not gone mad, I know we’re in a series looking at the disciples reactions to the resurrection appearances of the Lord, and that today the focus is upon JOY and the Title should read: “Jesus Gives A New Joy” Day 17. However, imagine how everybody in the UK would feel today, if the Post Office issued a commemorative Penny Black Stamp. Because it’s 175 Years since the First Penny Black Stamp was issued. You know the old fashioned stamp? You buy it and if you stick it to a letter then the STAMP itself guaranteed delivery of your item. So my friends, the Holy Spirit guarantees delivery of God’s Word to produce great JOY in your heart today.

Penny Black Stamp

It was a magnificent idea, People all over the county could send letters, notes, parcels etc to each other for the first time and the government guaranteed that it would be delivered, all because it carried the official Post Office Stamp: The Penny Black. Can you imagine the sheer joy and delight it must have been to receive the first letter in your life? If you had a relative who’d traveled to find work, they could now keep in contact by letter. Of course letters could take a few days to arrive 175 years ago, everything was very slow back then. Horses were the main means of transportation, it was before the advent of Steam Railways, Cars and Buses. No my friends, it was either horseback or coach and letters and mail were still in their infancy. You had to trust that someone would deliver you letter and you had no way of guaranteeing that it would be delivered. Also it would take a long time to discover if your letter had been delivered or not. The Penny Black Stamp changed all of that.

Now, when we read our lesson today from John’s Gospel, you’ll note that I’ve not gone completely bonkers: We’re thinking about the disciples JOY, now let’s look at the passage together;

John 20:19-21 19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Notice what it says in verse 20; “… The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”

You know my friends, I want you to try and picture the scene and use your imagination, try and think what it must have been like to be one of Jesus disciples at that moment. You are perhaps; Peter, John or Mary and you’ve all gotten together three days after Jesus was tortured and killed upon the cross. You are all frightened to be there together, you imagine all sorts of horrible things happening to you if you are caught by the authorities. You can see them in your minds eyes, torturing you like the shamefully tortured Jesus’ body. You can imagine the sting of thw whip or the pain as they thrust the crown of thorns on your head. You can almost feel it, because you witnessed it just a few days ago, the memory of what they’d done to Jesus and what they could possible do to you, was still very fresh indeed. You’ve all got this dread of being captured and caught, then suddenly out of nowhere, because you’ve made certain the doors are locked anyway, Jesus stands in the midst. First you’d probably be shocked, but then Jesus utters these words; “Peace be with you” You know it’s Jesus’ voice. You recognise the voice of the Master. But your mind is doing summersaults, “it can’t be, He’s dead, but He’s here, how can He be here? He’s alive, no Jesus died, but yet I can hear his voice. Am I dreaming? Is this a ghost or a dream?” I know that my mind would be racing like this: but then slowly it begins to sink in; “This IS Jesus, that was His voice I just heard, He really IS here with us now” Then your surprise and shock give way to a Tsunami of Joy. Wave, after wave or Tsunami like Joy floods you soul.

Now can you see what I meant about the Penny Black? The Joy of having been contacted by a loved one hundreds of milse away, they actually touched this paper and put a pen to it and wrote upon it for you. Oh the Joy of the personal letter from a loved one, addressed to you personally. You’d look at your name, see the marvellous new innovative Queen or King’s Head on the Penny Black Stamp. WOWzer! You’d be over the moon, cock a hoop.

What does Over-the-moon mean? It was a phrase popularised by Private Eye who took-the-micky (made fun of) English football managers and their use of the English language. They would string phrases and words together that don’t make any sense at all. “Cock-a-hoop”, (filled with Joy), “over-the-moon” etc, would be used to express the sheer delight that their team had won a victory. i.e. “We were over-the-moon about the fact that we trounced Manchester 2-0”.

So my friends, the disciples would have been OVER THE MOON about Jesus resurrection. OVERJOYED.

Other Football Manager Quotes:

(You’ll not the funny side in a little while).

Football Manager Quotes:

  • “The Spaniards have been reduced to aiming aimless balls into the box.” (Ron Atkinson)
  • “If you can’t stand the heat in the dressing room, get out of the kitchen.” (Terry Venables)
  • “If Glenn Hoddle said one word to his team at half time, it was concentration and focus.” (Ron Atkinson)
  • “I felt a lump in my throat as the ball went in.” (Terry Venables)

These quotes are nonsensical, very funny and humorous, but they’re not intended to be. They’re what we’d call bleepers, bloops or silly mistakes of English grammar. You can just imagine Terry Venables swallowing a huge football down his throat can’t you. LOL.

Over the Moon: Was a phrase like that, it means, really, really happy, full of joy or as the Bible has said today about the Disciples upon seeing the Lord and hearing His voice, “They were OVERJOYED”

Cock a hoop is another phrase to express happiness, I’ll let you look that one up on Google yourself though. Have fun my friends.

OVERJOYED

Dave Smith, In his little book to accompany this series, talks about dogs wagging their tails when they see the master coming with breakfast. Even dogs can be overjoyed my friends.

You can be OVERJOYED too my friends. When you see a letter with your name, personally hand-written, it produces and air of expectation. You wonder who it was from, you turn it over to see if they’ve put a return address upon it. Nope, you open it up and you note immediately where it’s addressed from, and who signed it.

Notice that word: OVERJOYED. The disciples were not just joyed by seeing Jesus. It was no ordinary joy or happiness, as if we’re seeing a long lost friend, but imagine the delight you’d experience if you were to meet a dearly loved relative or friend if they came back from the dead? That’s what it means for the Disciples to be OVER-Joyed.

The PENNY BLACK: Guaranteed Delivery.

That’s what it’s like with the Bible: It’s God’s Book, It’s His LOVE LETTER addressed to YOU personally. It can produce the same JOY the disciples felt my friends, It’s like it’s got your own personal PENNY BLACK STAMP of guaranteed delivery, right into your heart today. You see my friends, the Bible’s Penny Black is God The Holy Spirit: who inspired the Bible to be written and who also enables us to understand the words contained within. (Spiritually discerned truth)

1 Corinthians 2:10-14 10  but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
11  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
13  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
14  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

In other words, only the PERSON with the SPIRIT can understand God’s WORD. He’s like the Penny Black Stamp of authority and delivers God’s Word right into your heart today. Have you been filled with and OVERJOYED by the Holy Spirit.

Just as the Disciples were OVERJOYED by the LORD Jesus Presence my friends. So will you be when the Holy Spirit ushers in the presence of the Lord into your life today. Seek Him, seek the fullness and then you too will be OVERJOYED.

For over 2000 years the Bible has been delivering God’s message, with much more certainty than the New Penny Black Stamp ever could, because His message goes right into your heart and produces so much Joy, you’ll be over the moon, cock a hoop, filled with sheer delight. OVERJOYED. Not just happy, but OVER-JOYED. WOWzer! Who ever said that following Jesus would make life boring? It’s full of surprises and sheer delight and joy. Be OVERJOYED today, get the New Penny Black Stamp on your Heart, let it stick there forever by the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus will be your seal on your heart, you’ll know Him as Lord and Saviour forever.

Overjoyed when the New Penny Black Stamp was issued! Imagine what it must have been like for the disciples seeing, hearing and touching the RESURRECTED Lord Jesus Christ. WOWzer! OVERJOYED.

My friends, when you call upon Jesus today, you too can experience that same level of JOY. You’ll not have to work it up within yourself though, because you automatic response to the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is going to be awesome; but eventually it will burst forth in to great JOY.

Have and exciting and JOY-Filled day my friends: The New Penny Black Stamp.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 17: Jesus Gives A New Joy. (As did the Penny Black Stamp), but much, much greater.

God bless and keep you all,

Don.

p.s. Did you notice that the Penny Black Stamp is on Google today?  😎  😎  😎

 

Jesus Gives A New Peace

Daily Spirit & Word, 499: Jesus Gives A New Peace.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 15: Jesus Gives A New Peace.

Good morning my friends, as we begin the third week of 40 Days With Jesus, we’re considering His appearing to the Disciples when they are all gathered together in a locked room frightened about what the Jews would do to them. You know my friends, as you walk with Jesus and continue in the faith there will be times when you experience these sudden and unexpected moments when you know that Jesus is specially present. He promised that whenever we’re gathered in His name, He’ll come. Matthew 18:20.

Many shared at last night’s meeting about their struggles to continue, they tried living the Christian life and being a Christian, but they either forgot or didn’t quite understand that the Christian life in not about our labouring or our effort to be a Christian, but of surrender and acceptance and being filled and equipped. Once we know the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we’ll realise that being a Christian is effortless on our part, because He’s taken complete control. We’re not called to walk by might, nor by power by by the Spirit. Here’s a wonderful verse from the Old Testament that conveys this awesome truth, let it soak into your heart today;

Zechariah 4:6 6  So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

During this third week, we’ll see that truth explained and applied to our lives, it’s when we know the Lord Jesus and receive all His blessings and promises that we’re going to run the race of faith in His fantastic supernatural power.

The Third Week’s Bible Reading: John 20:19-31. Jesus Appears in their Midst.

John 20:19-31 19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
22  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24  Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
27  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30  Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
31  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.

When we meet Jesus, He gives ‘A New Peace’.

As stated earlier, Jesus comes when we gather in His name. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this yet or not, but wheter we perceive it or not that’s Jesus promise. Of course we can’t see Him physically, that’s because, apart from the 40 days after the resurrection when Jesus ascended into Heaven, and since the first Pentecost, people get to know about Jesus by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who revealed Jesus to us, He leads us to faith and trust in Jesus and then indwells every single believer, but there’s an even greater witness when we’re gathered. I believe the Lord has done this on purpose, because He never indended us to be Lone-Ranger Christians. When He called us, He called us into a family, we’ve got brothers and sisters in the faith, like any family, we’ve got family obligations: To LOVE one another and that’s how Jesus has chosen to reveal to the world that we truly belong to Him, if we love each other.

Notice first How the Disciples were Gathered:

They were all together, locked in a room for fear of the Jews. It was fear in their hearts. Fear for their own lives. They must have been thinking, “If they can kill Jesus, who never did anything wrong and who only ever did good things to and for people, surely we’re doomed”

It’s a bit like Private Frazer in Dad’s Army on TV, his favourite saying is, “We’re Doomed Captain Manwarring”.

He’d been through a lot in life, so perhaps he had good reason to come up with that catchphrase, “We’re Doomed”. So the Disciples are locked in, in fear for their lives, when suddenly Jesus appears in their midst.

Oh WOW! Some of them had heard from the others that Jesus tomb was empty, Mary said she’d seen Him and spoken with Him, now these two Disciples claim they met Jesus on the Road to Emmaus and tonight, that same evening, Suddenly Jesus APPEARS IN THEIR MIDST. My friends, I don’t know about you, but that appearing is awesome. His first words to them “PEACE BE WITH YOU”.

Jesus knew what they were going through, He saw their terror and fear and He comes to them and meets their deepest need at that moment. They may have had other needs, hunger, thirst, healing from various aches and pains, but Jesus meets their deepest need and it was for “PEACE”.

When you come to Jesus or when He shows up in your worship services, fellowship groups, house study groups, and fellowship prayer meetings, that’s what Jesus does, He comes to give His PEACE. It’s a new kind of peace. His peace in not like the PEACE that the world can give us. Yes my friends, in this world their is pleasure, joy and peace, but it’s nothing like the Heavenly PEACE that the Lord Jesus can and will give to every true follower. It’s not something we have to work at to get either, it’s not by works of righteousness, it’s Jesus Himself who just give us, by His grace, this PEACE from Heaven.

Jesus had appeared, He didn’t open the door like normal people and let himself in, He just miraculously appeared. That’s the definition of a miracle, it happens beyond the realms of Scientific possibility. I.e. The laws of Physics say, you can’t walk through a solid door, but Jesus did. You can’t just pop out of a wrapped up sheet (grave clothes), but Jesus did. You can’t walk on water, but Jesus and Peter did. You can’t raise the dead, but Jesus did. You can’t heal a blind person, but Jesus did. You see my friends, Jesus resurrected body is totally awesome. he can appear and disappear and yet be touched and known. He’s real, He’s alive, but He’s different. He who does these amazing things, wants to give you REAL PEACE today.

What is this PEACE that Jesus Gives?

In our reading Jesus gives them this blessing of PEACE (Shalom). The full meaning of God’s PEACE is not like the world’s understanding of peace. When we think of peace with think of tranquility or stillness and lack of strife. However, the PEACE of God is far more than that. When Jesus died upon the Cross, He won for us a peace that the world and all our efforts to attain it couldn’t and can’t give us. Jesus death and resurrection proves that God was satisfied with what He did and now the longed for PEACE with God can be had by everyone who trusts in Christ. When you trust Christ as Lord, you get this awesome PEACE within.

Notice that when Jesus came into that room He didn’t criticise the disciples for their failure, for their running away at His greatest moment of need. Jesus know us better than we know ourselves and when you come to Him in faith, He’ll not criticise you for your failures and weaknesses either, because all Jesus wants to give you is a deep PEACE within. Human beings look for peace, there’s a restlessness in every single one of us that cannot be satisfied until we find our peace with God. We do try and satisfy it though, with material wealth, with relationship and love and sex and things, but nothing can give us this peace that’s the kind of PEACE that only knowing Jesus can give. It’s more than tranquility, it’s more than not being anxious or perplexed, it’s an eternal peace with God.

In Romans 5:1-8 Paul reminds us about this PEACE that Jesus will give to every follower today:

Romans 5:1-8 1  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
3  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4  perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We are justified by our faith and trust in Jesus and then we have peace (or experience peace) with God, through our LORD Jesus Christ. WOWzer!

My friends, have you got that PEACE in your life today?

Once we know this ETERNAL PEACE with God, we also get the INTERNAL PEACE that we are all craving for. There’s more, once we get eternal and internal peace, we’ll also leak peace out into the world. It will come our from inside us to those around about us. They’ll sence the PEACE of God in us, even non-believers will notice this strange phenomenon, this peace that’s almost tangible and touchable, Jesus PEACE is not something that can be manufactured or  worked for, we cannot earn it, it’s by grace that we receive it and reveal it to the world.

Be blessed with the PEACE of God today.

Don.

Points to Ponder:

  • In your experience, how do people imagine they’ll find peace?
  • What does it mean for you to be a peace with God? How will that affect the way you live today?
  • Becoming a Christian means knowing God as Father. How does our new status as children of God help bring peace into our lives?
  • Imagine someone who truly was at peace with God. What do you think would strike you about the way they talked and behaved?
  • How well do you manifest this PEACE to those around about you today?

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ. You are the Prince of Peace. I thank You for paying for my sins on the Cross so that I can have this eternal peace with God the Father. Lord, it is life’s biggest privilege to know You as Lord and Saviour. Knowing that when you see me, You don’t see my failures and sins, you see me whole, forgiven, cleansed and renewed, I receive this wonderful truth again by faith. Holy Spirit, continue to remind me of this when circumstances around me try to steal my peace and when people around me are living in anxiety. You are my Rock, My fortress, Me Deliverer, in Whom I take refuge (Psalm 18:2). Lord, please fill me afresh with your Heavenly PEACE so that I can bring that peace to those around me. In Jesus wonderful Name. Amen.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page:

Jesus Gives A New Peace: Day 15 of 40 Days With Jesus.

The Breaking of Bread

Daily Spirit & Word, Vision Corrected by The Braking of Bread.

40 Days With Jesus; Day 13: Vision corrected by the breaking of bread.

Good morning my friends, I want to thank all of you who prayed for us yesterday, because our AGM (Annual General Meeting) went very well indeed. We’re looking forward to working closely with those who’ve been elected for the first time and those re-elected onto the PCC (Parochial Church Council) who, together with the Church Wardens and the Vicar oversee the running and maintenance of our Church. Please continue to pray that we’ll know the Lord’s will for the year ahead.

As we begin a new week today, we’re continuing in our 40 Days With Jesus, looking today at how our own vision of Jesus Christ can be corrected by the breaking of bread.

Luke 24:30-35 30  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
31  Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight.
32  They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33  They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together
34  and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
35  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread.

In the account of Jesus appearing to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we’ve now reached the climax of the incident, when their eyes were opened to who the stranger on their journey was. The realisation that their hearts burned withing them as their understanding of God’s Word was increased by the risen Christ explaining all that the Scriptures said concerning Himself. I hope your own hearts are burning now from having just read how they got their revelation.

Note once again the Order of Events:

  • First: They are downcast and defeated, feeling dejected and demoralised because the one they expected to be the Messiah who would reestablish the Kingdom of Israel had been killed and put in a tomb. 
  • Next as they discussed the events a stranger who didn’t seem to know what had happened in Jerusalem was walking with them and asking why they were so dejected?
  • As they explained their grievances, the stranger then explained all that must happen to the Messiah from God’s Word.
  • Then they arrived at Emmaus and Jesus acted like He was going further, but they did what every single person needs to do, they invited Jesus into their home (we need to receive Him as Lord), 
  • Once Jesus was with them in the house, He takes the bread, He gives thanks (Prayer of thanksgiving), He breaks the bread and then He gives it to them.
  • It’s when Jesus had done all of this, that eventually and finally their eyes were opened and they could see that it was Jesus who’d been with them all the time. Once they recognised Him, He immediately vanished from their midst.

WOWzer! What a story and it’s not a fairy tale or folk-lore, Jesus really did appear and disappear. Jesus really was alive and whilst He was present He could be touched and could touch things, like bread. He was not a ghost but a real person, yet different from ordinary people. He could appear and disappear.

It’s in the breaking of bread that they know Jesus.

This is where we are reminded by some commentators of Jesus words at His last Passover supper with the Disciples before He was crucified, when He once again took the break, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them. However at that meal just said, “This is my body, broken for you, do this in remembrance of me”.

Now my friends, comes the BIG question: What was it about that moment that enabled the disciples to recognise Jesus? It could have been as they watched him breaking the bread, and then they saw His nail pierced hands. For we know He carried those scars in His resurrected body. It could have been that they just finally got it, they knew Jesus and once they’d gotten over their grief and doubt, they finally saw it was Jesus. It could have been that Jesus changed His voice and they recognised His voice, reminding us that those who are His sheep, know His voice and listen to the good shepherd of our souls.

The fact is we just don’t know: But at that moment, in the breaking of bread, they did suddenly know it was Jesus. Instead of bedding down for the night, they rushed out of the house and headed back to Jerusalem to tell everybody else.

My friends, when you get your own REVELATION of Jesus, you’ll want to do the same. I can tell who’s had their revelation, it’s those who’re bursting to tell others about Jesus, is that you? Perhaps you’re still waiting?

Charles Spurgeon said, “If you don’t want to share the Gospel with those who don’t yet know the Lord Jesus Christ, then you have not been born again”.

The Bible tells us of another eye-opening moment of revelation: In the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they realised they were naked. That eye-opening event brought, guilt, shame, condemnation, fear and dread of coming into God’s presence, they hid themselves away from God. But the eye opening of the disciples came after spending time with the risen Lord, hearing God’s Word, inviting Him in and eating bread together. It brought them closer to God and their hearts burned withing them and they knew the risen Lord Jesus Christ. For the normal Christian birth, we’ll come in the same way: We’ll hear about Jesus through Scripture and Gospel proclamation, the Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (our hearts burning within), then when we get to the point of receiving Jesus (inviting Him in), we’ll also get our own revelation of who He really is.

Oh my friends, as you break bread in the name of Jesus, remember His promises, that He’ll be with you. Jesus is wonderfully present in the breaking of bread and the gathering together of the saints. When you receive Jesus, He’s going to be in you for all eternity. Now, we’ve just got to live out that faith, live the resurrected life and spread the good news, like those first disciples, telling everyone you know, “I’ve met the risen Saviour”.

You know that old hymn: “He Lives, He Lives”?

I did a search on Google for this song and it’s playing in the background as I’m writing to you my friends. You can do the same and listen, worship and pray as you read.

I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.

Chorus: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

As you continue to spend 40 Days With Jesus, I’m praying that in your ‘The Breaking of Bread’ you’ll also know and recognise Jesus presence. May He come to you afresh today. Trust Him and His promises to be with you, to be in you, to reveal Himself to you. Walk with Jesus and know that He is ALIVE, as the song above tells us, He’s the SAME today as when He walked the earth. How do we know Christ is risen? Because “He lives, He lives, He lives withing my heart”

Have a fantastic new week with Jesus my friends,

Don.

Points to Ponder:

  • It is good to be reminded that Jesus revealed Himself at a fellowship meal. Is eating together with other Christians something that is part of your lifestyle? Do you thank God for your food, and expect Christ to be present amongst you?
  • If you are in a church that has small fellowship groups, and you are not part of such a group, can I encourage you to join one. Raise your expectations of meeting Jesus as you gather and break bread together.
  • Is there anyone with whom you know you are out of fellowship in any ways? Do all you can, as it rests with you, to be at peace with them.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You for the tenderness and gentleness towards me today and that You revealed Yourself to the disciples over a meal. Forgive me for the times I’ve neglected to give thanks and remember You when we’ve gathered with other believers of a meal. Help me always to remember Your promise to be with us when we gather and when we eat in remembrance of You. Lord, I ask today that You’ll continue to reveal Yourself to me and all my friends, so that we can know You better every day and be so on fire and filled with JOY in Your company that we’ll long to tell others about You. Amen.

 

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40 Days With Jesus: Day 13: Vision Corrected By The Breaking of The Bread.

The Breaking of Bread.