He is Risen!…He is Risen indeed!

Early that morning the women came to the tomb and found the stone rolled away from the entrance. Jesus didn’t need this to happen for the Resurrection to occur, but this gaping hole was a physical sign that something miraculous had taken place. What was left behind was a cold, empty tomb…maybe like your heart today…someplace where Jesus might have been at one time…but is no longer. Today is the best day of the year to renew your commitment to the Lord and start afresh…let Him Arise in your heart today.

Mark 15: 38 ” The curtain of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

This curtain hung between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place in the Temple. It’s function was to separate all men, even the Priests, from the presence of God. Only the High Priest was able to go beyond the curtain, and that was only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. The moment that Jesus breathed His last breath on the Cross this curtain was torn in an instant from above, downwards. The barrier that separated us from God was suddenly…gone! We no longer needed someone else to inquire of God for us…the middleman now was no longer needed. That open curtain had made a way for us to go confidently into the Most High Place…and to have intimate access to our Lord. That ripped curtain hung as a memorial to the Old Covenant, and the shed Blood of Jesus.

John 19: 23-24 ” When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, ‘They divided My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing.’ So this is what the soldiers did. “

This inner tunic was extremely well made by someone highly skilled in weaving. The construction so far superior, that all the guards saw it as a prized possession, not to be torn into pieces. They decided instead to cast lots for it, which meant that they would all place a marked lot into a vessel which was shaken by one of them with his face turned away…the first lot to fall out would indicate the person chosen. This game of chance that the guards took part in was foretold of in Psalm 22:18, which is considered a Messianic Psalm…one pertaining to Jesus. Those guards had no idea they were fulfilling Messianic prophecy that day at Golgotha.

Luke 22: 19-20 ” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave to them, saying, ‘This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, ‘ This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you’ “

You’ve been invited to Dinner! The menu is quite simple, the fare not elaborate. The guest list is small… actually, there are only two names on the list…yours and the Lord. Come, now is the time to draw near to the Communion Table and allow the Lord to serve you. He will tear off a piece of the thin cake of bread and hand it to you, while saying,”This is My body given for you. My body given to save you from eternal death. Do this to forever remind yourself of what I have done for you, and you alone… If you had been the only person on the earth, I still would have gone to the Cross for you.” He will then hand you the cup while saying, ” This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you. I have willingly shed My blood in order to give you new life, and a new covenant, not of the Law, but rather of the Spirit.” The table is set, your Lord is waiting…come to the table.

Luke 22: 3-4 ” Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the Chief Priests and the Officers of the Temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.”

The Devil tempted Judas with a simple question…are you a lover of men, or money? Sadly, Judas chose the latter, and this “Blood Money” was his ultimate downfall. The Prophet Zechariah spoke of those thirty pieces of silver, which related back to the Mosaic Law, which stated that if a bull gored a slave and killed him, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave as compensation. Interesting enough, the price of a “quality slave” was twice that amount for compensation… Thus, Jesus was sold out by Judas for the price of a mediocre slave.

John 12:7 ” Leave her alone, Jesus replied. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”

When Mary had learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s home she knew this was her chance to meet this man everyone was talking about. She looked around her room for something to take as a gift…her eyes settled on a beautiful alabaster jar of nard. It was an extravagant indulgence she had treated herself to, but now it sat there as a symbol of her vanity and pride, and all she was ashamed of. She slipped it under her cloak and set off silently moving through the side streets. The servant girls were all busy when she arrived at the home, no one barred her from entering. Mary moved quickly, drawn by the men’s voices, then she heard Jesus speak and the tears started to well up in her eyes. Now was her chance, but fear and panic stopped her from interrupting the dinner, so instead she stood crying behind Jesus as He reclined on the couch. Mary’s eyes fell on His feet, they were dirty and dusty, and she was suddenly indignant that none of the servants had washed His feet before the meal. But then a quiet voice within her spoke…”But you can.” For a moment her haughtiness took over…”Me?! Wash someone’s feet?! The lowliest of the servants do that! I am far too important to get my hands and clothes dirty!” But again the quiet voice spoke…”Look where your importance has gotten you. You are no better off than the servant girl who forgot to wash His feet…you are both lost.” Struck by the stark truth, Mary began to sob. All pride and vanity inside her broke and she fell to her knees in front of Jesus’s feet. Her tears flowed from her bowed face onto His feet, washing away the dirt. Transfixed, Mary watched as Jesus’s feet became clean. She quickly undid her hair and dried them…ever afraid that Jesus would stop her, she hurriedly broke open the jar of nard and poured the perfume onto His feet. She signed deeply , and as the fragrance filled her head she felt her old life melt away…she felt…free. Free from all that had held her captive in the past. The guilt and shame gave way to a wonderful peace…. A Peace she had never experienced before. Suddenly Mary realized that Jesus had turned towards her and was speaking to Simon the Pharisee. Mary and Jesus eyes met as He said, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house and you did not give me water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not put oil on My head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins are forgiven- for she loved much. Then Jesus reached out and touched Mary’s face and said, “Your sins are forgiven, your faith has saved you, go in peace.” He then smiled at her and Mary’s heart was filled to overflowing with gratitude and love. “Thank you,” was all she could murmur as she slowly got up. A new Mary stood…the old Mary had died at the feet of Jesus.

Luke 22:31 ” Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Just like Job, Satan was asking permission to test Peter’s faith…wanting to prove him unfit for God to use. Satan wanted to sift him like grain in a sieve and see what would be left. But because of Jesus’s intercessory prayer on Peter’s behalf he didn’t lose faith…but he did have to return back to it after denying Jesus. Peter’s faith wavered, but was not broken…his faith was questioned…but never crushed. And this is why Jesus added those last words of affirmation and encouragement to Peter…”And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Seeing the resurrected Christ cemented Peter’s faith into something that no one or thing would ever shake again… and as Jesus had said to him, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church.”

Matthew 21:5 ” Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

If you would have asked most Jews, their idea of their King coming into Jerusalem to take it back from the Romans would likely be a very powerful man with thousands of troops, chariots, and horses rallied behind him…With pride and awe they would watch as the Romans would be defeated and driven from the city. But on that Palm Sunday, the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem was anything but that forceful takeover they were all envisioning. Instead, we see Jesus coming into Jerusalem without fanfare, mildly riding in on a donkey…not a rearing, snorting stallion, with just His twelve rag-tag Disciples walking behind Him. But regardless of how the Jews thought He would come… The Prophet Isaiah wrote…”The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: Say to the Daughter of Zion, See, your Savior comes!”

John 19:36 ” These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of His bones will be broken,’ and, as another scripture says, ‘They will look on the one they have pierced.’ “

The Lord gave Moses many regulations and restrictions about the Passover Lamb, one being, the breaking of the lamb’s bones was forbidden. As it was with the Lamb of God…none of His bones were broken by the guards as He hung on the Cross. David prophesied this in Psalm 34:20 when he wrote, ” He protects all His bones, not one of them will be broken.” The Old Testament Prophet Zechariah gave us insight into the last bit of this scripture…”And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a first-born son.” God fulfilled to the letter what was foretold in the Old Testament about His Son.

Hebrews 13: 11-12 ” The High Priest carries the blood of animals into the Most High Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood.”

The Law specifically dictated how the body of the sacrificed animal was to be disposed of…it was to be burned outside the camp. And so it was with Jesus, who was taken by the guards outside the city gate to the place of the Skull…Golgotha. There, God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement…not only appointed as the place to come with our sins, but He Himself being the very means by which this atonement was made. The Church was now sanctified and made holy by the shedding of Jesus blood.

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