Who Is This?

Matthew 21:10-11

10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

When Jesus came into Jerusalem, the city was in a buzzing like crazy.  There was an excitement in the air.  People were standing up and recognizing His great entry.  But not everyone knew who He was.  Not everyone who knew His name, truly knew  who He was.  People asked the crowd, who this was entering the city.  The people replied this was a prophet from Nazareth named Jesus.  The first set did not know who He was, the second did not see Him for who He fully was.

As I have said before, the ultimate question we need to answer is who Jesus is.  Is Jesus just a prophet?  Is He just a wise teacher?  Or some crazy homeless man?  Was He figure of some bodies imagination, that never really existed?  Or is He the Son of God, being fully man and fully God at the same time?  Is He the long promised Messiah of God?  This is the question which we need to answer.  Who is this Jesus?

There is a ton of evidence outside of the Bible that Jesus lived.  Most honest people, will admit to that.  Looking at this question prompted C.S. Lewis to write in his famous book, Mere Christianity, that Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar, or the Son of God.  These are three choices we must choose between.  The first two deny the divinity of Christ and leave us of no hope for Heaven.  But if Jesus is who He says He is, we have hope because of what He did when He came to earth.  He died to save us from Hell, the just punishment we deserve for all of the sins we have committed.  Believing in Jesus, to be who He claims to be leads to forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with Him in Heaven.

Who is this Jesus?  I truly believe He is the only Son of God, who came to earth to die for my sins.  He is my only hope for Heaven, all because of what He did.  He is more than just a prophet or a good teacher.  I hope and pray that you believe this as well.

If you are not sure, find a book that discusses the evidence for Him.  Lewis’ book Mere Christianity is a good place to start.  Another good one is I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Frank Turek and Norm Geisler.  Another yet is Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.  Also there is the Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.  There are other books as well.

So who is this man?  He is Jesus, God’s long promised Messiah who has come to save His people from their sins!

Oh Jesus, help us to know You for who You really are. There is so much evidence to back up that You are who You say You are.  You are the Messiah.  The one and only Son of the Living God.  You are my Savior and My redeemer.  Thank you for dying for me and saving me from my sins.  Thank you that one day, You are coming back to take me home.  Amen.

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Response to Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Matthew 20:18-21

18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” 20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.”

This is the third time that Jesus has predicted His death and resurrection to His disciples.  Each time He does, they have a different response.  After the first time, in Matthew 16, Peter rebukes Jesus and tells Him that He is wrong.  Peter tells Jesus that he will not let Jesus die.  Jesus promptly rebuked Peter, telling him that he was doing the work of Satan.  The second time, in Matthew 17, it says the disciples were deeply grieved about it.  Now this time, the response comes from the mother of James and John, asking Jesus for a prominent position for her sons.

Each response ignores the true gravity of the situation.  Peter thinks he knows more than the Son of God.  The disciples, being deeply grieved, show a lack of trust and faith in Jesus.  James and John’s mom ignores what He said and instead selfishly asked for prominence.  All three responses totally miss what Jesus was saying.  The disciples never totally understood what He said, until after it all had happened.

Today, we all can have similar responses to the good news of Jesus.  Some people act like Peter and think the story is beneath them.  Others are stuck in their grief, never moving on to see the good news of it.  And yet others ignore the good news and selfishly seek good things for themselves.

We are each held accountable to how we I respond.  Do we rejoice in the good news?  Do we realize what exactly Jesus did for us and why?  The good news of this, is that Jesus loved us so much that He died to pay the penalty for ours sins.  He sacrificed, His perfect life, that we might be forgiven.  And being forgiven, given access to eternal life with God in Heaven.  He then defeated the power of death, by coming back to life.

Do not miss the good news.  Do not respond with the wrong attitude.  Respond with joy and gratitude.  Accept what He did for You.  Love Him back and tell others about Him and what He did.  Encourage them to respond the right way.

Oh Jesus, I thank you for doing what You did for me.  Help me to respond with the right way.  Your death and resurrection are my only hope.  Without them, I deserve eternal separation from You.  But with them, I am saved and adopted into Your family.  How awesome is that!  I love You, my Lord and my God!  Amen.

The Ultimate Question

Matthew 16:13-16

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

This is the ultimate question we need to answer in our lives.  It does not matter how other people answer it.  Nobody can answer it for us.  Not our parents or spouse or kids.  Each one of us must answer this question and how we answer it will determine our ultimate destiny.  The question is the same question Jesus asked the disciples in the verses above.  Who do you say I am?

The correct answer is how Simon Peter answered.  If we fail to accept this fact, we will spend our lives eternally separated from God.  Jesus is the Son of God.  He came to earth, so that He could die for our sins.  To pay the penalty we owe for those sins.  The penalty, which we deserve, is eternal separation and torment in Hell.  Jesus lived a perfect life and because of that He was able to sacrifice that life, shed His blood.  God accepted that blood offering and is willing to apply to all of those who accept His Son as their Savior.  We have a debt we cannot repay, but Jesus is willing to repay that debt for us!  And all because of His great love for us.

Have you answered that question yet?  If not, you need to do so today.  Decide once and for all that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  Accept His sacrifice.  Ask Him to save you.  Part of that is confessing that you are a sinner in need of grace.  Believe in Him to be who He says He is.  Do it today!

Oh Jesus, I know You are the only Son of the Living God.  I know You are my Savior, my Redeemer.  You are my King, my Lord.  There is no one like You!  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for dying for me.  Thank you for loving me.  Amen.

Watch What You Say

2 Chronicles 18:13 But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what my God says, that I will speak.”

Oh, how much better we would be off if we would follow this advice.  We would avoid all of the foolish talk, that comes out of our mouths.  Talk which does not glorify God.  We would have learned to control tongue, which gets us into so much trouble.  Our words would only edify one another and encourage one another.  We would be so much better off!

Throughout the Bible, we warned to be careful what we say and how much we say.  Contrary to what some people think, silence can be a good thing.  What garbage things we say when we try to fill a situation.  They are mostly thoughtless and useless.  We gossip and slander.  We tear others down.  We build ourselves up, way farther than we should.  It is good advice, to let your words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

So be careful to say only what God wants You to say.  Keep yours word to a minimum.  You will be better off!

Oh God, help me to only say what You want me to say.  Help my words be few.  Forgive me, for the many foolish words that I have said.  Teach me to say what You say.  Amen.

The Hard Stuff

Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

It is easy to love those who love you.  It easy to pray for those you like.  The hard stuff is to love those who do not love you and to pray good for them.  It goes against our whole nature to do this.  Our human nature tells us to curse those we do not like and wish them ill will.  But God calls us to do the hard things.

The good news is that God does not expect us to do it all on our own.  He sends His Spirit, to live in His children.  The Spirit helps us to do the hard things.  He helps us to have a heart for those who are our enemies.  He helps us to pray good things, for those who are mean to us.  We are able to treat those who mean to us, with kindness and love.  It enabled Paul and Silas to pray for their jailer and lead him and his family to Christ.  It is all a God thing.  He enables us to do the hard things!

Dear God, I thank you for helping to do the hard things.  Help me to love those who are not my friends and to pray for them.  Help me to have heart for others.  Help me to show kindness to others.  It is all about You and not about me.  Amen.

Seek God

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

13 “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

It is time.  It is time we as a nation do this.  We have turned away from God and turned from His ways.  We have stopped seeking Him, instead we sought our own, sinful way.  It is time to turn from this way and seek God.  We have damaged our nation enough.

God promises that if we humble ourselves and really seek Him, we will find Him and He will heal us and our land.  We need to admit our sin and turn from it.  God’s judgement is on this land.  His forgiveness can free us from it.  How does a nation do this?  One person at a time.  Start with yourself.  Humble yourself and confess your sin and start doing what is right.  When others see you do this, they will do it as well.  Soon, the nation has repented.  Lets get to it!

Oh God, forgive us our sin.  Forgive me O God!  I am sinner and I fall short of your Holy standard.  Help me to turn from my sin.  I cannot do it without You.  Help me to be humble and to seek Your way.  Heal this nation.  Help us to seek after You.  Revive us to You!  Amen.

 

An Attitude of Praise

Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!

The Psalmist tells us through this whole Psalm, to praise The Lord.  No matter what we are doing, where we are, or what we have, we need to find ways to Praise God.  Praise it can come from song or different instruments or just speaking.  True praise for God, flows out of our hearts, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to Him.

It is a life style, which we as Christians need to live.  Every day, no matter what, we need to have an attitude of praise.  Sadly, with most Christians, we do not live this way.  If praise was made up of whining, complaining, and grumbling we would be doing well.  But these attitudes are the opposite of Praise.  An attitude of praise, is one of gratefulness and contentment.  It is one full of trusting in God, through all circumstances.  When we live this way, praise and worship flow through us much easier.

We need to check our attitudes and make sure that it has the right ingredients, so that we might constantly be praising, our great and awesome God!

Oh Lord, forgive me when I have the wrong attitude.  Teach me to be content and grateful.  Help me be full of love for You at all times.  You are so amazing.  You are so wonderful.  There is no one like You!  Amen.

Game Plan for Life

Psalm 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand

This is how we are to go about life, it is our game plan for our lives.  We are to filled with praise for God and be filled with the Word of God.  As we walk, we see everything that God has created.  We see His goodness and creativity in all that we see.  We experience His creation and His love.  As journey along, we feel His grace and are floored by His forgiveness and mercy.  All of these cause us to filled with praise.  They cause us to worship Him.  They show us how great and wonderful God is.

The sword represents the Bible.  We are told in Hebrews that the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword.  It pierces the soul, convicting us and all who hear of the sin we commit.  It gives slices through the hard things of life, flashing clarity to all situations.  It is our guide for the journey, showing us the way we should go.  It guides us as we go through the dangers of minefields in life.

When we know God’s Word and apply it to our lives, we find more and more reasons to praise Him.  When we live a life full of praise for God, we earnestly want to know Him more, which do by digging into His Word.  These two things go hand in hand and they work together to help us grow closer to God.

Oh Lord, I praise You for who You are.  I praise You for Your amazing Word.  Lord, both help me on the journey of life.  Help me to use both tools and grow closer to You.  You are so wonderful.  Amen.

Repentance

1 Kings 21:27 It came about when Ahab heard these words, that he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in sackcloth and went about despondently.

Ahab was one of the most wicked kings of Israel.  He and his wife Jezebel, totally turned away from God and served idols.  They killed a lot of the prophets of God.  Verse 25 of this chapter says that “he sold himself to do evil”.  Ahab lived a vile, wicked life.  Yet, when he heard a prediction of God’s wrath coming for him, he humbled himself and repented.  Because of his humility, God postponed the promised punishment.

It does not matter who you are or what you have done, God is willing to forgive you, if you repent and humble yourself.  There is not a sin that you could commit that God can not and will not forgive.  Ahab tried, he did some really bad stuff.  But God, was still willing to forgive him.  He is willing forgive you and I as well.  This is not because of who we are, but because of who God is.  It is not based on anything we have done to earn it, but instead it is based on what Jesus did on the cross.  It is because of His great love for us.

So humble yourself and repent, which means to turn from your sin and instead turn toward Him.  He is waiting for you!

Oh God, I thank you for Your forgiveness.  I do not deserve it, but gladly accept it.  Help me to humble before You.  Help me not to be proud.  Help me to repent and turn away from any sin in my life.  Amen.