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So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day

So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day

So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first. “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” – Matthew 27:64-65 (NIV) People may think that there is a lot of antagonism to the Christian faith today, but the opposition toward Jesus during His time was far greater. With Jewish leaders trying to protect their religious power and the Romans asserting their military might, they were not about to let this renegade rabbi Jesus become a symbol of challenge. But even their best efforts could not stop the power of God. Empires have tried to destroy the gospel for centuries, but no one can keep Jesus body in the grave. His resurrection power lives on and is spreading across the...

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Jesus Redeems Us With Out stretched Arms

Jesus Redeems Us With Out stretched Arms

Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “ Eat it in my memory.” He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.” Luke 22:19-20 (Msg)   The third cup in the Passover meal is the cup of redemption. Redemption means to buy somebody’s freedom. Jesus bought your freedom with his life on the cross. At the Last Supper, which was a Passover meal, Jesus said, “This third cup, I want to give it new meaning. This is the promise of a new covenant between you and God, a new promise of freedom that comes through my blood.” He was saying, “I’m going to go to a cross and my life blood is going to be poured out for you.” He was saying, “I want you to take this cup of redemption and see it from now on as a representation of the fact that I’m pouring out my blood for you. And I want you, together, to take this and drink this and to remember me.” Jesus is the fulfillment of everything in the Passover meal. He’s the bread of life. He is God’s promise in our lives. The blood on the door posts in Egypt — now it’s fulfilled in Jesus who sacrificed his life for us, who poured out his blood to set us free from our sin and guilt. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NLT) Jesus sets us free from ourselves; he sets us free from our fears; and he sets us free from our sin and our guilt. This is why we celebrate...

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Jesus sets you free from your fears

Jesus sets you free from your fears

“I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” Exodus 12:12-13 (NIV) There is a second cup in the Passover meal called the cup of plagues. And it is a reminder from God that he will free us from slavery to our fears. Do you remember the story of how the people of Israel were set free? Moses is tending sheep out on the backside of the desert and God comes to him, saying, “You are going to set my people free.” But when he goes to Pharaoh, Pharaoh says, “No way! They are too important to my economy; they are too important to my power in the world. I won’t set them free.” So God says, “I’m going to bring judgments against Pharaoh, and he will set my people free.”   God sends ten plagues across Egypt, such as the Nile River turning to blood, a swarm of frogs, the death of livestock, festering boils, darkness, even during the day, and, finally, the death of the first born. Things we all might fear. But God told the people of Israel: “I don’t want the death of the first born to occur in your households. If you’ll put your faith in me, if you’ll trust in me in this way, my death angel will pass over your house when it comes into Egypt. Take a lamb and kill it, then put the blood of the lamb on the door of your house and I will pass over your house.” The Passover meal celebrates the truth that God saved the first-born sons of Israel. Easter celebrates the truth that God gave his first-born son to save us. Just like the angel passed over those households, God says you can crossover from death to life. The Bible says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24 NIV) Jesus says you may die physically, but you’ll never be separated from me, and you will live with me in eternity. A lot of people they live in fear of God. They feel like God’s out to get them somehow and, if you feel that way, here is a verse to remember: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18...

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Passover is all about how God

Passover is all about how God

“I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.” Exodus 6:6-7a (NIV)   Passover is all about how God sets his people free and, in the Passover meal, we see the four promises that God makes to set his people free. Easter is a celebration of God’s promises, that through Jesus, God sets us free: “So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” (John 8:36 Msg) The Passover meal begins with the first cup called the cup of sanctification.  You would recite a blessing: “Blessed be the God, the maker of the universe and the creator of the fruit of the vine.” And then you would drink from the cup. This prayer, the Kadaysh, and this cup reminded people that they were sanctified, meaning they were set apart for God’s purposes, set apart for God’s love, set apart because of what he wants to do in our lives. God set the people of Israel free, set them apart and freed them from slavery. Jesus wants to set you free; he wants to set you apart too: “I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23a Msg) Holy means set apart — God wants to make you holy and he wants to make you whole.  If you look at your life this last week, this last month, this last year and you think there is nothing in me that could connect with God, God says, ‘No, I want to set you apart to be person I want you to be. I want to free you for the purposes I made you for.’ Now, I get it.  I understand. You look at your life and you get frustrated.  I do too.  ‘Why can’t I do what I want to do when I want to do it?’ ‘Why do I find myself doing what I don’t want to do when I don’t want to do it?’ That’s why Jesus wants to set you free – not only to begin in a new life, but also to set you free from the guilt from your faults and failures. Jesus says if you’ll come to me, you’ll be free through and through. This cup of sanctification is a picture of our sanctification, the way that Jesus...

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Father, Forgive Them

Father, Forgive Them

“Father, Forgive Them” The dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. From the onlookers, “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!” From the religious leaders, “He saved others but he can’t save himself.” From the soldiers, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Bitter words. Acidic with sarcasm. Hateful. Irreverent. Wasn’t it enough that he was being crucified? Wasn’t it enough that he was being shamed as a criminal? Were the nails insufficient? Was the crown of thorns too soft? Had the flogging been too short? For some, apparently so… Of all the scenes around the cross, this one angers me the most. What kind of people, I ask myself, would mock a dying man? Who would be so base as to pour the salt of scorn upon open wounds? How low and perverted to sneer at one who is laced with pain… The words thrown that day were meant to wound. And there is nothing more painful than words meant to hurt… If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is a balm for this laceration. Meditate on these words from 1 Peter 2:23 (NIV): “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Did you see what Jesus did not do? He did not retaliate. He did not bite back. He did not say, “I’ll get you!” “Come on up here and say that to my face!” “Just wait until after the resurrection, buddy!” No, these statements were not found on Christ’s lips. Did you see what Jesus did do? He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Or said more simply, he left the judging to God. He did not take on the task of seeking revenge. He demanded no apology. He hired no bounty hunters and sent out no posse. He, to the astounding contrary, spoke on their defense. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”? (Luke 23:34 NIV)… “they don’t know what they are doing.” And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But they didn’t know what they were doing. Yes, the dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. The verbal stones were meant to sting. How Jesus, with a body wracked with pain, eyes blinded by his own blood, and lungs yearning for air, could speak on...

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