If you have been following my Faith The Evidence Bible Studies Blog you know that the Church of Divine Guidance is wrapping up a study of the book Prayer Warrior: Praying Your Way To Victory by Stormie Omartian. In the study we’ve talked about a lot of things:
The study started by recognizing that we are in a war. A spiritual war against Satan and all his forces.
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
It doesn’t matter if we believe in Satan or not, or believe that we are in a war or not, or believe that we have an enemy or not.
We talked about the authority that we have in prayer.
The basis for our authority in prayer is that Jesus gave it to us.
John 16:23-24 (NKJV)23 And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
We have to make sure that we stay in condition to fight. We have God’s armor and weapons.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKJV)10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Our weapons are; God’s word, worship, grace, prayer with fasting, faith, and prayer alone.
Being armed with the authority of Jesus, God’s armor and our spiritual weapons we must now be prepared to and willing to engage the enemy wherever and whenever we encounter them.
We are confident because the one who equips and certifies us as, leads us, and protects us, also fights along with us. Our Commander In Chief, Jesus Christ, is Himself a warrior.
Read this devotion from Craig Groeschel’s Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul
Daily Power: Fight the Good Fight of Faith
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. — 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT
If you’re a follower of Jesus, then you’re also a fighter.
In Exodus, we’re told:
The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name. — Exodus 15:3, emphasis mine
So if we’re created in God’s image, then we, too, have this fighter inside us as part of our nature. This is not just a cultural, patriarchal thing. It’s a God thing — for all of us, both men and women — inherent to our Creator’s design.
And don’t forget the greatest warrior who ever lived, Jesus. Surprised? Many of us imagine Christ based on pictures of Him, all meek and mild, smiling as children gather at His feet with sheep grazing nearby. But if you look at his life, this picture is incomplete.
The Son of God was not a divine doormat.
He was overwhelmed with righteous anger, violently toppling the tables of the money-changers in His Father’s temple. He was the scandalous Messiah, willing to buck the Pharisees and their religious establishment. He is the fierce King of Kings whose eyes are like blazing fire and who wears a robe dipped in blood (Revelation 19:13).
Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah, the Prince of Peace and the Risen Savior, overcoming sin and death once and for all. We must consider all of what the Bible tells us to fully appreciate God’s character and Jesus’ example. No doubt about it, Jesus was a fighter.
And so are you.
Jesus, I want to be both gentle and defiant, meek as a lamb and fierce as a lion, just like You. Today I will fight whatever stands in the way of growing in my faith.
Excerpted with permission from Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul by Craig Groeschel, copyright Craig Groeschel.
Editor’s Note: Daily Power: 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul as brief, practical devotions to help you develop a consistent, daily pursuit of Jesus that releases his power in your life. Daily Power is here to help you grow and become strong every day of the year.
You’ve got to have it to stand strong in these times and become who God says you are. Daily Power will help you develop a consistent, daily pursuit of Jesus that releases his power in your life.
Craig Groeschel will help you fortify your life with 365 brief devotions. Each devotion includes a Scripture quote followed by a short reading and concludes with a simple “Power Lift” prayer.
Of all the names and titles of Jesus the one we most often forget is Mediator. We quickly remember the names and titles; Christ, Alpha and Omega, Son of man, the Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, Savior, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Emmanuel, and God. As I’ve said a other posts there are 200 or so names and titles that give us insight into Jesus’ character. The one that we most often forget though is Mediator.
1 Timothy 2:5 NIV For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,
The definition of a mediator is a person who attempts to make people involved in a conflict come to an agreement; a go-between.
A mediator enters into a dispute between two parties and brings about a resolution. According to the Bible, sin has placed every human being in conflict with the perfectly righteous God of the universe.
Romans 3:10 NIV As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
There is nothing a person can do to bridge this chasm that sin creates between himself or herself and God.
Despite this problem originating because of human sin, God took it upon himself to resolve the conflict. Instead of letting people experience the just result of their rebellion against him, God sent Jesus, his own Son, to act as a mediator of his new covenant of grace.
Hebrews 9:15 NIV For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
For those who place their faith in him, the Bible says Jesus bore their sin so that they could become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Now Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding on their behalf
Romans 8:34 NIV Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
If we are in Christ, he paid the penalty for our sin, and his perfect obedience is credited to us. Because of Jesus’ work, we are no longer in conflict with God and we have been adopted as children and co-heirs with Christ.
Romans 8:17 NIV Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
With Jesus as our mediator, we partake in God’s amazing grace!
Romans 5:10 NIV For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Ephesians 1:3-10 NIV Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Jesus, thank you for your perfect obedience all the way to the cross. Thank you for allowing me to be adopted into God’s family. I am so honored and blessed to be your sibling. Amen. - From the YouVersion Jesus Bible Reading Plan Zondervan with Passion City Church
Last year I started the blog series “Who Is Jesus” (see the Categories list in the righthand column of the blog). In the first post of the series ( “Who Is Jesus? Really”) I said that there are 200 or so names and titles that give us insight into Jesus’ character. Those names include Christ, Alpha and Omega, Son of man, the Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, and others. However In all my writing I have never written about the name Jesus which is the Hebrew name Savior. I wrote that Jesus is our Savior but never what the name itself means.
In my reading today I read this excerpt adapted from J. C. Ryke’s Gospel of Matthew,
What Does the Name of Jesus Mean?
J. C. Ryle
The name Jesus means "Savior." It is the same name as Joshua* in the Old Testament.
It is given to our Lord because "He saves His people from their sins." This is His special role. He saves them from the guilt of sin, by cleansing them in His own atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves them from the presence of sin, when He takes them out of this world to rest with Him. He will save them from all the consequences of sin, when He shall give them a glorious body at the last day.
Jesus is a very encouraging name to weighted-down sinners. He, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, might lawfully have taken some more high-sounding title. But He does not do so. The rulers of this world have often called themselves great, conquerors, bold, magnificent, and the like. The Son of God is content to call Himself Savior. Those seeking salvation may draw near to the Father with boldness, and have access with confidence through Christ. It is His role and His delight to show mercy. "For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him" (John 3:17).
Jesus is a name, which is especially sweet and precious to believers. It has often done them good. It has given them what money cannot buy - that is, inward peace. It has eased their wearied consciences and given rest to their heavy hearts. The Song of Solomon describes the experience of many, when it says, "Your name is oil poured forth" (Song of Solomon 1:3). Happy is the person who trusts not merely in vague notions of God's mercy and goodness, but in "Jesus."
Adapted from The Gospel of Matthew by J.C. Ryle (Chapter 1).
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*Editor’s Note: The English name "Joshua" is a rendering of the Hebrew language "Yehoshua", meaning "Yahweh is salvation".The vocalization of the second name component may be read as Hoshea—the name used in the Torah before Moses added the divine name (Numbers 13:16).
"Jesus" is the English derivative of the Greek transliteration of "Yehoshua" via Latin. In the Septuagint, all instances of the word "Yehoshua" are rendered as "Ἰησοῦς" (Iēsoūs), the closest Greek pronunciation of the Aramaic: ישוע Yeshua, Nehemiah 8:17). Thus, in Greek, Joshua is called "Jesus son of Naue" (τοῦ Ναυή) to differentiate him from Jesus Christ. This is also true in the Slavic languages following the Eastern Orthodox tradition (e.g. "Иисус Навин" (Iisús Navín) in Bulgarian and Russian). From Wikipedia
The Greek name Yehoshua or Ἰησοῦς is mentioned three times in the Septuagint. They are Joshua, Justus (Colossians 4:11 NLT Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been! ), and Jesus Christ.
We Christians are always going around asking the people that we meet if they are saved. At sometime shortly after we’ve met a person, for the first time we ask the question “Are you saved”? We may not use those exact words but what we want to know is if that person has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and become a child of God and part of His Kingdom. But let’s think for a minute, while you and I may know what it is to be saved my guess is that the person that we’re talking to has no idea. What if they, in turn, asked you “saved from what”? Could you answer them?
Here’s something that I read on the Internet in an issue of Frontersman, an Alaska newspaper. The article was written by Ethan Hansen, Pastor of Faith Bible Fellowship, Big Lake, Alaska. It gives you answers to the question “saved from what”?
I’m sharing the full article, Jesus saves - from what? in this blog post.
Jesus saves - from what?
Recently my family crossed from Canada back into Alaska. We cleared customs and drove a mile into Alaska and there on a hillside in bold, white rocks was the statement, “Jesus Saves.” What does it mean that Jesus saves? The word saved simply means “to rescue.” Yes, Jesus saves. There is only one way to be saved and that is through Jesus. There is no doubt that Jesus saves but the real question is, “From what does Jesus save us?” Thankfully, the Bible answers this question!
Jesus saves from guilt to righteousness. Every person has sinned against God. God is a just and holy God. God always punishes sin. Romans 3:19 says, “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God.” If a judge does not punish sin, he is not a righteous judge. The entire world is guilty before God. But when a person understands that Jesus came to rescue sinners- He died in our place- the righteousness of Jesus is credited to your life. You move from guilt before God to righteousness before God!
Jesus saves from the wrath of God to the love of God. Romans 5:9 says, “We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” We used to live with God’s anger. God expects us to obey Him and we fail to do so. God’s standard is perfect obedience every moment of every day. But through Jesus Romans 5:9 is transformed into Romans 8:39 where nothing “can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus saves us from alienation to fellowship. Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Jesus died a substitutionary death. Through faith and repentance, you go from being God’s enemy to being God’s child.
Jesus saves from slavery to sin to freedom. Romans 6:17 says, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.” We often think of ourselves as free. People say, “I am free. I do what I want.” The Bible says that we are slaves of sin. Jesus saves us from being slaves of sin to being able to live like He made us to live.
Jesus saves us from eternal death to eternal life. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus said, “He who believes in Me will never die” (John 11:26). Christians die physically but they don’t die spiritually. Even the fear of death is taken away. Death is simply passing from this life into the next life for the believer.
Jesus saves from a fallen, decaying body to a perfect, new body. The Bible promises that every Christian will one day receive a new body. Our present bodies experience groaning and pain (Romans 8:22). My parents went to their fiftieth high school reunion. They returned and said, “We are the only ones who hadn’t changed!”
We are all getting older but Romans 8:23 reveals a great truth. “….even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” In 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul talks about the perfect, new, eternal bodies which will be given to every person saved by Jesus.
The gospel is the best news possible. The cross is amazing. God the Father treated Jesus as if He lived my life. Then God the Father treats me as if I lived the life of Jesus. Jesus gets all of my bills and pays them in full. I get all of His deposits. The gospel is an amazing exchange. Jesus gets the blame for my sin. I get the credit for His perfect obedience!
Won’t you be saved today? Understand your great need. We are sinners who need a Savior. Understand our great Hero, the Lord Jesus Christ, who defeated sin, Satan and death. Repent of your sins and put your faith and trust for spiritual rescue in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
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I asked the question on Quora and LinkedIn. I’ll post the answers that I get on my Facebook Page. To see them like my Page by clicking on the Facebook icon above.
July 4th is celebrated in the United States as the signing of the Declaration of Independence signifying the colonies declaring their freedom from England. Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, but the United States of America would not officially become independent for another seven years, until the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War.
But the citizens of the Kingdom of God, those who believe and have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior celebrate a different Independance Day. Their Independence Day is Resurrection Day and we celebrate it every day. The big Celebration takes place on Resurrection Day (Easter). That pronouncement of that Independence is found here;
John 8:34-36 (NLT)34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
Romans 8:2 (NKJV) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Our Declaration of Independence is confession
Romans 10:8-10 (NKJV)8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach):9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Today, the citizens of God’s Kingdom have the freedom in Christ that empowers us to avoid the things that can lead to pain and suffering.
Romans 6:17-23 (NKJV)17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are free to choose love over sin, and free to pursue the things of God over our own selfish desires which can lead to disaster.
Galatians 5:16-23 (NKJV)16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
We are free from the things our enemy Satan throws at us including attacks on our minds, our bodies, our material things, and everything else we have in our lives. Jesus has given us the things to defend ourselves from all these attacks.
Ephesians 6:10-17 (NKJV)10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
He has given us the freedom to say NO!
Galatians 5:1 (NKJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Because of the freedom provided through Christ we are now new and improved
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Of course although free from the slavery of sin we aren’t sinless. We still struggle with the the flesh, but Jesus has already won the battle for us.
Romans 8:31-39 (NKJV)31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Although we are free we must still be vigilant. Our freedom can’t be taken away from us but we can abandon the joy and peace that comes with it. We can stop letting the Holy Spirit control our lives and try to take control ourselves. When we do that we lose. We don’t lose our salvation but we lose our freedom. by talking us into not letting God have control over our lives, then by default, the devil wins, and we lose. Our job is to stay free, and we do that by praying, studying, and obeying God's Word.
The International Living Center gives us “Four Freedoms You Should Celebrate this Independence Day”
So, this Independence Day, let’s celebrate the freedom we have in Christ by holding onto Him and His promise.
John 8:36 (NKJV) Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
In the very first post in my blog series,“Who Is Jesus” , I listed a number of the names and titles attributed to Jesus in the Bible. They included; Author and Perfecter, Bread of Life, Friend, Good Shepherd, High Priest, Mediator, Rock, True Vine, The Faithful Witness, First Born from the Dead, Ruler of the Kings of the Earth, God. I write new posts from time to time as the Holy Spirit directs me, but I also share blog posts and articles that I believe bring a greater awareness of our Savior and His role in our salvation.
I recently read an entry in the YouVersion “The Jesus Bible Reading Plan”, titled Names And Titles Of Jesus In Revelation”. As I read the list I could hardly contain myself. After reading the list I’m sure that you like me will shout Glory Hallelujah!
NAMES AND TITLES OF JESUS IN REVELATION
John described God as “him who is, and who was, and who is to come”. His vision of heaven includes an image of four creatures who worship God day and night, and they also refer to God as him “who was, and is, and is to come” This phrase echoes Exodus 3:14 – 15, where God spoke of himself as “I am” as he revealed his name to Moses. Jesus also referred to himself as “I AM” and thereby declared himself to be God. John reinforces this reality by declaring that not only is God who he says he is now, but he is also the same God he was throughout history, and he will continue to be the same God in the future. With this eternal consistency in mind, let’s look at the names for Jesus revealed throughout John’s book.
Jesus is the Christ (Rev 1:1; 20:4); the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5); the Alpha and Omega (1:8 – 13); the son of man (1:13) who holds the sharp, double-edged sword (1:16); the First and the Last (1:17); the Living One who lives and was dead (1:18; 2:8); the one who holds the keys of death and Hades (1:18); the one who holds the seven stars and who walks among the seven golden lampstands (2:1); the Son of God (2:18); the one who searches hearts and minds (2:23); the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars (3:1); the one who is holy and true and who has the key of David (3:7); the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation (3:14); the Lord, who is worthy to receive glory and honor and power (4:11); the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David (5:5); the Lamb that has been slain (5:6 – 7); the Lamb who lives (5:8 – 9); the Lord of lords and King of kings (17:14; 19:16); the just Judge who is Faithful and True and the warrior on the white horse (19:11); the Word of God (19:13 – 16); the Lord, the God who inspires the prophets (22:6); the Beginning and the End (22:13); and the bright and Morning Star (22:16).
This list may be a little overwhelming, but this quick look presents Jesus as the promised Messiah, the one who died and was raised to life again to defeat death, and the eternally consistent and powerful ruler who loves his people — yesterday, today and forever.
John 14:13-14 (NLT)13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
Christians have been taught that we are always to end our prayers in Jesus’ name. We have been taught so well that it often becomes ritual with no meaning other than it’s what we have always been taught. It’s almost to the point of believing that if we don’t end the prayer in Jesus’ name that God won’t hear or answer.
Some think that saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer results in God’s always granting what is asked for. That’s like treating the words “in Jesus’ name” as a magic formula.
If it is absolutely essential we must say something like “in the name of Jesus” in order for God hear and answer prayer how do we explain all the answered prayer in the Old Testament?
1 Kings 17:19-23 (NLT)19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed.20 Then Elijah cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, please let this child’s life return to him.”22 The LORD heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived!23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
1 Samuel 1:10-11 (NLT)10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.11 And she made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut.” 19 The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the LORD once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the LORD remembered her plea,20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the LORD for him.”
Jesus never taught his disciples to say “in Jesus’ name” or “in My name” at the end of their prayers, and none of the prayers in the New Testament end “in Jesus name” or “in the name of Jesus”.
Acts 7:59-60 (NLT)59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT)9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT)14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
We often pray ourselves without ending with “in Jesus name”. What about the times we pray “Lord have mercy” or “thank you Lord” or just “Help”?
I have two questions;
What does it mean to pray in Jesus' name?
Praying in Jesus’ name literally means praying with in the authority He has given us. He has given us the authority to ask the Father to act on our prayers because we come in His name.
Think of it this way. Jesus’ name is a key, and if you have the key I doesn’t matter if the key belongs to you or not as long as you have it you can open the lock. The power belongs to Jesus but he has given you His key.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NLT)9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Just as an Ambassador has the authority to speak for the leader of a nation we can speak with the authority of Jesus. It is just as if Jesus Himself was talking.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NLT)20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Praying in Jesus’ name is praying for things that will honor and glorify Him. Praying in Jesus' name means the same thing as praying according to the will of God,
1 John 5:14-15 (NLT)14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
If I don’t end of my prayer in Jesus’ will God still hear and answer?
Saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of a prayer is not a magic formula. If what we ask for or say in prayer is not for God’s glory and according to His will, saying “in Jesus’ name” is meaningless. The words “in the name of Jesus” are more than just a signal that the prayer is over. To pray in Jesus’ name means to ask in His merit not ours.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
When Jesus told us to pray in his name, he wasn’t talking about the words with which we end our prayers. The prayer we call The Lord’s Prayer does not end with anything like “in my name Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT)9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us today the food we need,12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
We pray in Jesus’s name whether we use those exact words or not, when we approach God under the authority Jesus has given us. We can obey Jesus’ instruction about praying in his name without saying “in Jesus’ name” or some such phrase at the end of our prayers.
He told is to be persistent and confident but never said we had to actually speak His name so that God would hear and answer our prayer.
Matthew 7:7-11 (NLT)7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
If saying “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers reminds us that we are praying with the authority that He gave us, and in the knowledge that it is in His righteous we approach God, then this is a great practice. If saying “in Jesus’ name” helps us seek God’s will when we pray, then we should always say it. But, if we think that saying “in Jesus’ name” is what it really means to pray in His name, then we are missing the point.
I’ve written a number of blog posts showing that Jesus is God. I’ve talked about the fact that He called Himself “Son of God”, and “Son of Man” I’ve addressed His saying that "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”; I’ve addressed the objection that people use that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father so He can be The Father and the Son (I encourage you to read the entire blog series “Who Is Jesus”. The link is in the Categories list on the righthand column of this blog). However I’ve never tackled one of the major objections of those who say that Jesus isn’t God, and that is that Jesus never spoke the words “I am God”. .
It’s true that it is not recorded that Jesus spoke those three precise words, however the fact that He never spoke those precise words doesn’t mean that He never proclaimed that He was God. Dr. Michael Kruger, President of, and the Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at, Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC., and one of the leading scholars today in the study of the origins of the New Testament, wrote that “We should not confuse the directness of a claim with the existence of a claim.”
I don’t have to say the exact words “I am a father” to indicate that I have children. I can say “this is my son or daughter”, or “today is my daughter’s 16th birthday” If I said “that’s a hot car” it doesn’t mean that the car is hot with heat it means that it looks good and I like it. If I say that dinner was the “bomb” it doesn’t mean that dinner blew up it means that it was very good. If I said any of those things you would know exactly what I was talking about. It was the same in the days that Jesus walked the earth. The people that Jesus was talking to, when He was not speaking in parables, knew exactly what He was saying.
When He said “I and My Father are one”, or “the Father is in Me, and I in Him” they knew exactly what He was saying. So much so that they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy because they knew that he was saying that He was God.
John 10:30-39 (NKJV)30 I and My Father are one."31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.32 Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?"33 The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods" '?35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand. (Bold mine)
They also knew what He meant when He said;
John 8:54-59 (NKJV)54 Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, 'I do not know Him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word.56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad."57 Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?"58 Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (Bold mine)
The people who heard this statement wanted to kill Jesus for blasphemy because Jesus gave the same response to them that God gave gave Moses;
Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' "
Jesus wasn’t saying something like “I’m some other, generic god”. It was pretty clear to everyone there that He was being much more specific. They clearly understood what He was declaring. He was declaring that He was Yahweh (Jehovah).
If Jesus had merely wanted to say He existed before Abraham’s time, He would have said, “Before Abraham, I was.” The Greek words translated “was,” in the case of Abraham, and “am,” in the case of Jesus, are quite different. The words chosen by the Spirit make it clear that Abraham was “brought into being,” but Jesus existed eternally. - from Got Questions
John 1:1-3 (NKJV)1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Jesus didn’t correct Thomas, when after seeing and touching He, he declared;
John 20:27-29 (NKJV)27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
The writer of Hebrews says that The Father, Himself, declares that Jesus is God;
Hebrews 1:8-12 (NKJV)8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions."10 And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment;12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail." (Bold mine)
The Bible tells us that we are to worship God and God alone. There are several instances in which Jesus is worshiped and He never stops or rebukes those people.
Matthew 14:29-33 (NKJV)29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
Matthew 28:9-10 (NKJV)9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."
Matthew 28:16-17 (NKJV)16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. (Bold mine)
Jesus Said that “No one is good but One, that is, God”
One of the major claims of those who reject the divinity of Jesus is here;
Mark 10:17-22 (NKJV)17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"18 So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.19 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.' "20 And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Let’s take a look at this passage in context. The comment “No one is good but One, that is, God” is preceded by the question, Why do you call me good?”. Jesus is not rebuking the man for calling Him good, he is asking a question to get the man to think through is own words “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus asked the man Why do you call me good?” to cause the man to look his own lack of goodness. That’s why the man left because although he had followed all the commandments he had failed in observing the first and greatest commandment. His riches were more important to him that God so he was not “good” in the sight of God.
Matthew 22:34-40 (NKJV)34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'38 This is the first and great commandment.39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
The question to the man was not a denial of His deity, but to cause the man to actually recognize His identity. Jesus does say that He is good when He declared Himself to be the good shepherd.
John 10:11 (NKJV)11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
To be good is to be without sin and no mere human can be without sin. Only God can have no sin.
John 8:46 (NKJV) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?
Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Claims are one thing but where’s the proof?
We can all make claims but the proof is in the pudding.
Jesus was not created; He existed eternally
John 1:1-3 (NKJV)1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
The Word did not become; he was. With God suggests equality as well as association. The Word was God (deity) without confusion of the persons. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
John 17:5 (NKJV) And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was
Jesus is everywhere (Omnipresent)
Man is limited by a physical body, and can be only in one place at any one time. God, however, is spirit and can be everywhere in the universe at the same time. This attribute, is also related to His unlimited power to act and to know. God is present everywhere in the sense that everything everywhere is in His presence - He can see, know, and act in all places at once.
Jesus promised His disciples that He would be with them no matter where they were.
Matthew 18:19-20 (NKJV)19 Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
Jesus is all-powerful (Omnipotent)
Man and other created beings have limited power over other created things. Only God has unlimited power over all creation. Absolutely nothing is impossible for Him.
Jesus exercised power over Nature
Luke 8:24-25 (NKJV)24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.25 But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, "Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!"
Jesus exercised power of physical diseases and conditions
Matthew 8:2-4 (NKJV)2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Mark 10:50-52 (NKJV)50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.51 So Jesus answered and said to him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" The blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, that I may receive my sight."52 Then Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
Jesus exercised power over demonic spirits
Mark 1:32-34 (NKJV)32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door.34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
Jesus exercised power over death
John 11:14-15, 41-44 (NKJV)14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead.15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him." 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!"44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
Jesus is all-knowing (Omniscient)
God has unlimited knowledge and wisdom.
Peter and his friends were experienced fishermen and after working all night in a place that they knew well they didn’t caught any fish. Jesus however, a carpenter’s son and no fisherman, knew exactly where to go to catch the fish.
Luke 5:4-9 (NKJV)4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."5 But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net."6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; John 16:30; 21:17 - Jesus' disciples claimed that He knew all things. He never contradicted this claim nor rebuked them for it.
Peter needed money for the taxes and Jesus knew where to get it.
Matthew 17:24-27 (NKJV)24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?"25 He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?"26 Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free.27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."
You will notice in each of these instances Jesus never said in the name of the Father I heal you, or in the name of the Father I command you too… He just said it and it happened. When we pray for someone’s healing, or make a request of God we always say in the name of Jesus because that’s what we are taught to do. We are taught that in order for us to ask and have our request granted by God we must ask in the name of Jesus (I’ll have another post soon on this subject), but since Jesus is God He didn’t have to ask in anybody’s name He just spoke it.
Jesus Forgives Sin
Only God can forgive sin.
Mark 2:5-12 (NKJV)5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,7 "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'?10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"--He said to the paralytic,11 I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house."12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
Luke 7:44-50 (NKJV)44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little."48 Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"50 Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."”
The Resurrection Proves That Jesus Is God
The resurrection of Jesus Christ verifies two things. First, it verifies the deity of Christ, that Jesus really was the Son of God.
Romans 1:1-4 (NKJV)1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
The resurrection was the stamp on Jesus Christ that He really was who He claimed to be. The resurrection proves the deity of Christ. (See How Can Jesus be Son of God, Son of Man, and God at the Same Time)
Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of Man, he is fully human, but He is also fully God.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
Colossians 2:9 (NKJV) For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
Yesterday we observed Good Friday. According to Christian tradition, Good Friday is the day that Jesus Christ was crucified. Tomorrow is Resurrection Day (Easter) the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as proof of God’s acceptance of the sacrifice of His life for the salvation of mankind.
The Bible records the things that happened on Good Friday and it and it records events of Sunday, Resurrection Day. However, the Bible is silent about what happened on what some call "Holy Saturday". Since the Bible is silent about what happened we can’t really say what happened but we can, being led by the Holy Spirit, talk about the silence of Saturday.
Here are the thoughts of John Ortberg, from his book Who Is This Man? . I want to caution you that those thoughts, a while I believe are inspired by the Holy Spirit, are John’s thoughts and they do not have the authority of Scripture. As I said before the Bible is silent about Saturday, but in silence things do happen and John’s thoughts will cause you to think and then rejoice in the silence of Saturday.
In Between Despair and Joy
So far as we know, there has only been one day in the last two thousand years when literally not one person in the world believed Jesus was alive.
On Saturday morning after Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples wake after not having slept for two days. The city that was screaming for blood the day before is quiet. Crowds have disbanded. Jesus is dead.
What do they do on Saturday?
It’s strange that the two days on either side of Saturday are so heavily discussed. Some of the brightest minds in the world have devoted themselves primarily to those two days; they have been across the centuries maybe the two most studied days in history. The Bible is full of what happened the day before, the day Jesus was killed. And the next day, Sunday, is the day believers say gave birth to the most death-defying, grave-defeating, fear-destroying, hope-inspiring, transcendent joy in the history of the world. Pentecostals still shout about it. Charismatics still dance because of it. Baptists still say Amen! over it. Presbyterians still study it. Episcopalians still toast it with sherry. Some people think of Sunday in mellower terms, as a metaphor for hope. And others think of it as a dangerous enemy of logic, reason, and mortality.
Let’s just leave Sunday alone for now.
This isn’t Sunday. This isn’t Friday. This is Saturday.
The day after this but the day before that. The day after a prayer gets prayed but there is no answer on the way. The day after a soul gets crushed way down but there’s no promise of ever getting up off the mat.
It’s a strange day, this in-between day. In between despair and joy. In between confusion and clarity. In between bad news and good news. In between darkness and light.
Even in the Bible - outside of one detail about guards being posted to watch the tomb - we’re told nothing about Saturday. Saturday is the day with no name, the day when nothing happened.
Now only a handful of followers remain. Friday was a nightmare day; Friday was the kind of day that is pure terror, the kind when you run on adrenaline. On Saturday when Jesus’ followers wake up, the terror is past, at least for the moment; the adrenaline is gone.
Those who believe in Jesus gather, quietly maybe. They remember. It’s what people do. Things He said. What He taught. Things He did. People He touched or healed. They remember what it felt like when this Jesus wanted them. They remember their hopes and dreams. They were going to change the world.
Now it’s Saturday.
Maybe they talk about what went wrong. What in God’s name happened? None of them wants to say this, but in their hearts, they’re trying to come to grips with this unfathomable thought: Jesus failed. Jesus ended up a failure. Noble attempt, but He couldn’t get enough followers.
He couldn’t convince the chief priests. He couldn’t win over Rome to make peace. He couldn’t get enough ordinary people to understand His message. He couldn’t even train His disciples to be courageous at the moment of great crisis.
Everybody knows Saturday.
Saturday is the day your dream died. You wake up and you’re still alive. You have to go on, but you don’t know how. Worse, you don’t know why.
This odd day raises a question: Why is there a Saturday? It doesn’t seem to further the story line at all. We might expect that if Jesus was going to be crucified then resurrected, God would just get on with it. It seems strange for God to spread two events over three days.
In its own way, perhaps Saturday should mark the world as much as Friday and Sunday.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday lie at the heart of the ancient calendar. They attributed great significance to the notion that this event was a three-day story.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day [Paul adds again] according to the Scriptures.” The Old Testament Scriptures are filled with what might be called “third-day stories.” When Abraham is afraid he’s going to have to sacrifice Isaac, he sees the sacrifice that will save his son’s life on the third day. Joseph’s brothers get put in prison, and they’re released on the third day. Israelite spies are told by Rahab to hide from their enemies, and then they’ll be safe on the third day. When Esther hears that her people are going to be slaughtered, she goes away to fast and pray. On the third day, the king receives her favorably.
It’s such a recurring pattern that the prophet Hosea says, “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces... After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence.” All three-day stories share a structure. On the first day there is trouble, and on the third day there is deliverance. On the second day, there is nothing - just the continuation of trouble.
The problem with third-day stories is, you don’t know it’s a third-day story until the third day.
When it’s Friday, when it’s Saturday, as far as you know, deliverance is never going to come. It may just be a one-day story, and that one day of trouble may last the rest of your life.
I said before that Saturday is the day when nothing happens. That’s not quite right. Silence happens on Saturday. After trouble hits you, after the agony of Friday, you call out to God. “Hear me! Listen to me! Respond to me! Do something! Say something! Rescue!”
On Saturday, in addition to the pain of Friday, there is the pain of silence and absence of God.
When C. S. Lewis wrote his memoirs about coming to faith in Jesus, he called it Surprised by Joy. The book is about how his love of joy led him to faith in Jesus, and he actually took as the title a phrase in a poem by William Wordsworth. When Lewis wrote the book, he was a fifty-seven-year-old bachelor. He had met a woman named Joy whom, after the book was published, he ended up marrying. His friends enjoyed teasing him that he really had been surprised by Joy.
After a lifetime of waiting, Lewis knew love only briefly. Joy died soon after they were married of cancer, a lingering, very painful death.
So Lewis wrote another book: A Grief Observed. A Saturday book.
When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing God, so happy you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be - or so it feels - welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become... What can this mean?
Why is He so present a Commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?
A husband, a father, wants more than anything in the world to save his marriage. His wife will not listen and will not help. He is not perfect (not by a long shot), but he wants to do a really good thing. He can’t find out why his wife won’t respond to him, and he can’t stand what it’s doing to his children. Heaven is silent.
A mom and a dad find out the child they love has a terminal illness. They pray like crazy but hear only silence. She’s getting worse. You lose a job. You lose a friend. You lose your health. You have a dream for your child. And on Friday, it dies. What do you do on Saturday?
You can choose despair. Paul writes about this: “How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” In other words, apparently some people said, “There is never going to be a Sunday. It’s Friday. Get used to it. Do disappointment management, because that’s as good as it’s going to get.” Some people - silently, secretly - live here. You can choose denial - simplistic explanations, impatience, easy answers, artificial pleasantness. Hydroplane over authentic humanity, forced optimism, clichéd formulas, false triumphalism.
Paul wrote to Timothy that some “say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.” In other words, apparently some said, “It’s already Sunday. The resurrection has already happened for all of us, so if you’re having any problems, if you’re still sick, if your prayers aren’t being answered, you just don’t have enough faith. Get with the program.” Or there is this third option:
You can wait. Work with God even when He feels far away. Rest. Ask. Whine. Complain. Trust.
Oddly, the most common psalm is the psalm of complaint. The Saturday psalm. God, why aren’t you listening?
An ancient homily spoke of this strange day: What happened today on earth? There is a great silence - a great silence and stillness. A great silence because the King sleeps. God has died in the flesh, and hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent as for a lost sheep.
The Apostles’ Creed says Jesus descended into hell.
Somehow no suffering you go through is suffering Jesus will not endure in order to save you.
From a human standpoint, we think of the miraculous day as Sunday, the day the man Jesus is risen from the dead. I wonder if, from Heaven’s standpoint, the great miracle isn’t on Saturday. When Jesus is born, the skies are filled with the heavenly hosts praising God because that baby is Emmanuel, God with us. Somehow God in a manger, somehow God in a stable, somehow God on earth. Now on Saturday the angels look down and see what? God in a tomb.
The miracle of Sunday is that a dead man lives. The miracle of Saturday is that the eternal Son of God lies dead.
So Jesus Christ defeats our great enemy death not by proclaiming His invincibility over it but by submitting Himself to it. If you can find this Jesus in a grave, if you can find Him in death, if you can find Him in hell, where can you not find Him? Where will He not turn up?
Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV) 9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
Today is Palm Sunday which marks the start of what is often called “Passion Week,” the final seven days of Jesus' earthly ministry. The Gospels record this day, which has come to be known in Christian tradition, as "Jesus' Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem.
This entry into Jerusalem was obviously a major event in the ministry of Jesus because it is one of the few incidents appears in all four Gospels making it significant to not only the people of Jesus' day but to Christians throughout history.
The crowds that welcomed Jesus that day shouted Hosanna which in Hebrew means "Save us now". It was their cry for salvation from their Roman oppressors. Their shouts were in response to their belief that the promised Messiah had come in the person of this man Jesus. While they identified Him as their Messiah, and He was, their hope was for a military or political victory over their physical enemies, Jesus had come to give them victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. The cry was "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!" Many of them must have wondered if this really was "The Son of David.
Something that is quite interesting about the actions of the people who lined the streets with their garments and palm branches is that the palm branches were really a part of the Feast of Tabernacles, not Passover which was why Jerusalem was packed with people.
Leviticus 23:33-43 (NLT) 33 And the LORD said to Moses,34 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Begin celebrating the Festival of Shelters on the fifteenth day of the appointed month—five days after the Day of Atonement. This festival to the LORD will last for seven days.35 On the first day of the festival you must proclaim an official day for holy assembly, when you do no ordinary work.36 For seven days you must present special gifts to the LORD. The eighth day is another holy day on which you present your special gifts to the LORD. This will be a solemn occasion, and no ordinary work may be done that day.37 (“These are the LORD’s appointed festivals. Celebrate them each year as official days for holy assembly by presenting special gifts to the LORD—burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and liquid offerings—each on its proper day.38 These festivals must be observed in addition to the LORD’s regular Sabbath days, and the offerings are in addition to your personal gifts, the offerings you give to fulfill your vows, and the voluntary offerings you present to the LORD.)39 “Remember that this seven-day festival to the LORD—the Festival of Shelters—begins on the fifteenth day of the appointed month, after you have harvested all the produce of the land. The first day and the eighth day of the festival will be days of complete rest.40 On the first day gather branches from magnificent trees—palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the LORD your God for seven days.41 You must observe this festival to the LORD for seven days every year. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed in the appointed month from generation to generation.42 For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters.43 This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 23:5-8 (NLT) 5 “The LORD’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month.6 On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the LORD continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast.7 On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly.8 For seven days you must present special gifts to the LORD. On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”
This was the Devotion I read this Palm Sunday and I want to share it with you. It's from "The Forgotten Jesus" written by Robby Gallaty
Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem is not a quiet affair. He is met by crowds of people who begin spreading garments on the road. According to 2 Kings 9:13, it was not uncommon for people to lay their garments in the road for a leader to ride over. They did this as a sign of their respect and to indicate their submission to his authority.1 Additionally, branches were cut and spread onto the garments that lined the streets. John 12:13 names the branches as “palm branches,” which were symbols of salvation for the Jews. And salvation was the word on their minds and on their lips. Collectively, the multitude cried out,
Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!
The Hebrew word hosanna is a plea for salvation: “Save us now!” The people were at the right place, but for the wrong reasons, participating in the wrong feast day. Palm branches, cries of hosanna, and shouts of “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” are all elements associated with the Feast of Tabernacles.2 But this was the Passover, a celebration of a different kind.
The title the people spoke, “Son of David,” was a common messianic title. It indicates that the people believed Jesus to be the Messiah they had been waiting for.3 The shouts of hosanna allude to Psalm 118:25-26:
Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.
Simply by saying hosanna, the people were declaring to God that they were tired of their oppression, through with their corrupt leaders. They were asking for liberty, for victory. Unfortunately, the bystanders were not interested in salvation from their own sins, but in salvation from the Romans. What the crowds missed was an understanding of why Jesus had come. He had not come to offer them a military victory over Rome. He came to establish a heavenly kingdom on earth and to conquer the age-old enemies of Adam’s children — sin, death, hell, and the grave.
Jesus was fighting a cosmic battle, bringing rebellious children back into the family of God by making peace with God, not war on Israel’s current national enemies.
In case we are tempted to judge them for their short-sighted focus on freedom from Rome, we should consider how common it is to look for human leaders to deliver us from our own problems. A quick look at American politics will show that we are no different from the Jews in this regard. We would be wise to refrain from throwing proverbial stones at the Jewish people for their misunderstanding of Jesus’s ministry! In fact, they had good reason to think the way they did. Many prophecies of the Old Testament point to a messianic time of vengeance aimed at Israel’s enemies. The people were understanding the scriptures correctly; the Messiah will come at some point to bring judgment. But He had another mission to accomplish first. God’s own people needed to be saved from the consequences of their sin.
1. Kings 9:13 (CSB) states, “Each man quickly took his garment and put it under Jehu on the bare steps. They blew the ram’s horn and proclaimed, ‘Jehu is king!’”
2. See Leviticus 23:33-40 for a detailed outline of the elements incorporated.
3. The Pharisees proved this in Matthew 22:41–42.
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.