Join me for the 21 Days Walking on the Road to the Ressurection – an opportunity to learn more about our glorious God. I started this when I felt God prompting me to dig a little deeper into the word than I had been. I hope you will feel encouraged during this very strange time.
“And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:37
Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple, with Peter, James, John, and Andrew. He had just spent a while talking with them. Though they really didn’t understand that He was walking toward the cross to die, Jesus reminds them to “stay awake!” He was referring to the second coming. We all need to be ready for that time.
But, I also think He is speaking to us now. He is telling us to “wake up!” He has things He wants us to do to glorify Him. The plans He has for us, if we will only obey, are far beyond our imagination. You never know when what, or where He has something in store for you.
“Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”
Please look carefully at this verse. This is the story of Lazarus in John 11. Jesus is talking to Martha.
He tells her to “believe first and then she will see God’s glory.” Many of us seem to think in the other direction. We say, “God show me what you got first, then I will believe.” The problem is that it’s not living by faith, but by sight. 2 Corinthians says “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” When we walk by sight, we look down to see where our feet are going. When we walk by faith, we are looking up into the face of Jesus for the directions to step. Whenever we look down, we also want the credit. Look up and give the credit to Jesus! He has great plans if we just “walk by faith, not by sight!”
“Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.” John 11:45-46
In Bethany, there were a whole lot of people who saw and heard about the resurrection of Lazarus. How did this impact their lives? Many became followers of Jesus, while others went to the Pharisees. The Pharisees wanted Jesus gone. Some people were for Jesus and some were against Him. But in the midst, there had to be some that were trying to figure out which way to go. So what direction have you gone? Please pray right now about where you are spiritually. I ask this because I care about you!
Jesus said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
After Lazarus was raised from the dead, everyone took notice of Jesus. John 12:10-11 tells us that “the Pharisees decided to kill Lazarus along with Jesus because too many Jews were starting to follow Jesus.” If you are a true follower of Jesus, you too have been raised from the dead. Your resurrection was a spiritual one. You are not what you were. That person is dead. Because Jesus lives in you, you are a new person. You are to “let others see Jesus in you!” Let His light shine so other lives can be impacted.
It’s “He Not Me!”
“A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet (Jesus) him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!”
Everyone was all “fired up” when Jesus was riding in on the donkey. I am sure they were all excited to see this man. They just knew He was their new king. But, where were they later? Many of these people, in this crowd, were part of the mob that shouted: “We want Barabbas!” How many of us will sing and shout in church praising God? How many of us will say how “blessed we are” when things are good? But, when things get tough, it’s “poor me!” When standing tall and strong for your faith in Jesus could cost you something, what will we do?
“Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” Lamentations 3:40
Today is a good day to take an honest look at where we really stand with Jesus.
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32
Normally, this would be the weekend that determines the “Final Four” teams. In some cases, there is one player that makes a huge difference. This player is often lifted up on the shoulders of his teammates to signify his importance in the win. He is the hero! Jesus was lifted up for the greatest victory ever.
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:26
We must be willing to lift up Jesus to the world! A true follower puts the desires of God in front their own.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
When we are willing to lift Jesus up above ourselves, others will be drawn to Him!
“For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:43
We all love to be told “great job!” We are to always try to do the best we can. But, who are we trying to hear from the most – God or our peers? Would you rather hear “Dude(or Dudette), you did a seriously fabulous job!” or would you rather hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”? What you decide will determine your actions.
“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:46
Jesus is the light of the world. If we are true followers, His light will shine through us in the darkness! Today, I sure hope that in some way His light shines through you. Try texting, Facebook, a phone call, a wave, etc. Just shine!
“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”
During this period of time, washing a guest’s feet was part of welcoming them into your home. But, you wouldn’t do it yourself. There would be a servant that would do this lowly task. Jesus, totally against the wishes of his disciples, said that He was washing their feet. He is teaching US, there is nothing beneath us when it comes to serving others.
We live in peculiar times. How can we show a servants heart today (and keep our 6ft. distance)? Pray and ask God what you are to do today to serve someone else! Surprise? You could serve someone in your very house today. FYI: Do it, don’t talk about it, and don’t expect anything in return!
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31
Do it all for “God’s Glory!”
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
How much has God shown His love to us? Endless ways! Take a moment and ask God to show you “just one” person you haven’t communicated with for awhile and let them know that “you really do love them.” What a difference we can make if we all do this today!
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
The disciples were fixing to go through a “pandemic” of their own. Life how they had known it for about three years was going to be radically changed. Our lives have been recently altered in ways we never dreamed of.
As followers of Jesus, our lives may become extremely different than we could ever imagine. This was happening to the disciples as well. The answer to “what should we do” is chill out! He still is in control. We must “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” as it says in Matthew 6:33. Seek! Trust! Obey!
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Jesus is telling us that our obedience is displayed in accordance to our love. Obedience can be a challenge. It’s tough to do in our own strength. The great news is we don’t have to. If we are true followers of Jesus we have the Holy Spirit in us. John 14:17 says He is “the Spirit of truth.” He gives us the direction, power and, wisdom needed to be obedient. Let the world see your love for Jesus in a special way today!
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
Several times a year, I am part of softball, sometimes basketball, mission trips to prisons in Florida. I love seeing the orange groves. Those luscious-looking oranges make me want to stop and pick one. Yes, I know. “I better not do it!” I see them and think about how beautiful those orange trees are. But notice this, my eyes are drawn to the fruit. I don’t see that the roots and the branches may be great, but what I notice is the fruit. For all true followers of Jesus, spiritual fruit is the natural result of spiritual growth. That fruit brings glory to God and is further proof of “whose you are!”
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
It is easy to confuse happiness and joy, but they are very different. Happiness is based on circumstances and things. If things are going the way I like then I’m happy, if not I’m sad! Joy is from the Lord. It is an internal assurance and quiet confidence that God “has got this!” Just relax and trust Him.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We try to find peace and fulfillment through many different things. But real peace is only found in Jesus.
Right this very moment, each of us is being bombarded with difficult issues. How can we deal with this? Jesus is telling us to “Chill out and relax in Me. I have already won!” Victory in Jesus!
Jesus prayed in the Garden: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”
Jesus knew that this work was done and the Father was glorified! What is He giving you to do? What are you supposed to be doing to bring glory to God?
The chorus to a great old song, “We’ll Work till Jesus Comes” finishes like this:
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
And we’ll be gathered home.
As a follower of Jesus, we are to just do what He calls us to do and when He is done using us, He will take us home to glory!
John 18 “Decisions”
“So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” John 18:39b
John 18 is filled with folks that had to make difficult decisions. Judas, Peter and the crowd had to make some of the same calls that we make each day! Really? Not me! Selfishness, fear, and direction have an impact more than we care to admit. How do we make the right decision?
Check these verses out:
Selfishness: Philippians 2:4
Fear: Psalms 34:4
Direction: Proverbs 3:5-6
God has given us His Word, the Bible, for the “answers to decisions in our lives.”
Just read it!
“Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” John 18:4
A group of religious leaders, soldiers and Judas wanted “Jesus to die.” What do you want Jesus for? What you want determines “which version of Jesus you look for!” Are you looking for “the Genie Jesus?” He’s the one you want to give you all your wishes. Are you looking for “the Ticket to Heaven Jesus? He’s the one who just makes sure you get into heaven. Are you looking for the “Right Here Jesus?” He’s the one that helps you just be good to people now and not to worry about the eternity stuff.
Or are looking for the TRUE Jesus? He is the one that loves you, has promised to care for you, works through you on earth, and died for you to be able to spend eternity with Him.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24
And at three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
What does the cross mean to you? Many people think of the cross as a “neat decoration piece”. Often when I see someone wearing a cross around their neck, I ask them “ Is that necklace for ‘Show or Go?’” Is it a showpiece or does it really matter. Many people observe Good Friday, even the Stock Market is closed, but some celebrate it! Which one are you? What does this day really mean for you? If you are a follower of Jesus, this is a day for true remembrance and celebration. Jesus didn’t just die for our sins. He became sin for us. All of the world’s sin was heaped on Jesus! God could not even stand to look at Him at this point.
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil.”
It wasn’t the physical pain, but all of the hate and rejection that He became! We can never fully understand what Jesus really did for us! Thank you Jesus, for what you did on the cross!
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Friday is over and Saturday was here. What was everybody thinking now? It was the sabbath so nothing was being done! Lots of time to rest and reflect. The Pharisees had to be thrilled. They finally got their man! Or, so they thought! The disciples were concerned about what was next. I am sure they were battling an inner struggle. Was all this over or not? I have no doubt the people of Jerusalem were making some kind of plans about “what they were going to do!” During this pandemic, we are all making plans. What to do and when to do it. Different plans for different scenarios! All those around the crucifixion were trying to figure stuff out just like us! But, as followers of Jesus now, we have the benefit of knowing things from this side of the cross! We are confident that though we aren’t sure of all our steps, God has this!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
“It is Finished”
“Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (Hebrew for “Teacher”).”
There is something special about hearing someone call your name. At first, Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus. But the moment He said “Mary,” she knew exactly who He was! She knew His voice because she knew Him well. Jesus had earlier taught in John 10, that sheep respond to the shepherd because they know His voice.
“But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Do you recognize the voice of Jesus when He is speaking to you? Not the booming voice that is portrayed in the movies, but that still small voice that whispers gently in your heart that gives direction. If you don’t, you might want to figure out why! We learn to listen by spending time alone with God; praying and reading His Word, the Bible! Celebrate the Resurrection by spending some quality quiet time with God!