Peace To Live By

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that He had said these things to her. When it was evening on that day the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After He said this He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. John 20:18-20

Jesus Christ says, “Peace be with you,” then later adds, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me so I send you.” Here Christ’s first Peace is linked with Mary Magdalene’s witness to joy when in the garden she meets beautiful Jesus Resurrected. As Christ speaks, “Peace be with you,” to the men and women disciples His real and certain peace filled presence returns to them and they rejoice.

The second Peace which Christ gives is preparation peace, This is the peace that we find in Worship, in prayer, while we study Scripture, as we live Christ-like lives, and when we are truly loving as He loves. His peace readies our souls to share Him with others in very personal ways. This peace entails Holy Spirit motivation to confidently talk about about Jesus Christ alive Presence and equips you for His service as His disciple.

Notice that Christ shows His hands and his side to them then the disciples rejoice. I ask you to focus on His scars like this because He did not need to keep the scars after death and Resurrection. He could have returned to us without scars. His disciples would have still recognized Him and loved Him. Yet He kept the scars to show us the inestimable price that He paid for our freedom and for our peace.

Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live. Isaiah 53:3.

Stand Near The Cross

Meanwhile, standing near the Cross of Jesus were His mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing beside her, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. John 19:25-27

Jesus’ Love calls to His mother with the respectful use of ‘Woman,’ because if He says the tender word ‘Mother’ then He knows that the love that she has for her Holy Son would overwhelm her and spill out. He addresses her as Holy ‘Woman’ of God for she supports the Grand Plan of salvation alive within Him. She loves Him completely. She loves His purpose; to stomp on evil’s head, and abolish death and destruction of souls.

Here and Now the Power of His Name is exalted, glorified, praised, energized, loved. He is the Giver, Good Shepherd, King of the Kingdom of God, Absolute Love. Similarly, He directs us as to whom to take into our homes with gracious genuine hospitality. He uses Psalm 146:9 ‘The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked.’ Jesus our Lord has been frustrating the ways of the wicked His entire life.

Jesus Christ is purposeful to continue frustrating evil by directing you safely within His Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. Christ your Savior Lord has got you and He guides you. Like Mary, love Him completely, listen to Him, live in obedience to His commands. Love one another as He loves you. Love aids others, preserves their dignity, understands honest mistakes, hopes all things, and patiently sees God’s movement in all situations. Love asserts Jesus’ overwhelming Presence.

Jesus’ Will Be Done

Jesus says, “Father, I will that those also, whom You have given me, may be with Me where I am, to see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  Righteous Father, the world does not know You, but I know You; and these know that You have sent Me.  I made Your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them and I in them.”  John 17:24-26

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, Lord Christ our Savior and Redeemer!  His will is loving, filled with compassion and kindness, and merciful.  It is His will that you be with Christ in glorious oneness of relationship right now and then after you die and go to heaven to worship and enjoy His glorification.   That’s remarkable assurance and more than that, you find your full satisfaction of all that you are (heart, mind, soul, and spirit) in loving relationship with Him right now.

So when you find everything you need in Jesus Christ then why do you ever place your trust and confidence in yourself?  All of your trust and the highest level of confidence needs always and everywhere be in your loving Savior Jesus Christ.  He seeks to preserve the depth of your faith in Him, experience Holy Spirit joy, be delivered from all and every evil, sancify you– make you perfect in His love, and blend you with other believers in His will.

He reminds us in John 17 that we need other believers.  Speak words of love to one another and act lovingly Christ-like.  The blessed community of Christians around the world, loving Jesus Christ together and rejecting conflicts within our small groups, is within His will to lovingly bring all the people of the world into relationship with Himself.  As each one of us confess, praise, thank, appreciate, show how we love Him, invitationally Baptize, share Holy Communion, tell about what His Cross means, and speak about living with Him in our hearts then we serve Him as others may yield to His will for them.

They Hated Jesus Without Cause

Jesus says, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.  Whoever hates Me hates My Father also.  If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin.  But now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father.  It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ ” John 15:22-25

You do not belong to the world; you are saved and you belong to Jesus and when hate baffel’s you then recall these words of Jesus and reject urges to hate back.  Learn how from Jesus.  They hated Jesus without cause and they will hate you without cause too.  Worldly ones are sneaky and sly with hate; to retaliate may trip you up.   Listen to Jesus.

In John 8:1-11*,  Jesus is inspirationally teaching in the temple, openly, as was His tradition.  Interrupting, they bring Him the woman caught in adultry and while she was before Him, Jesus leans down twice and writes on the ground.   This is the only time our Savior and Lord wrote and we surmise it was in answer, then He says, “You who are without sin cast the first stone at her.”  No stones are thrown.  Jesus corrects the cause of hate like a teacher grading papers with a red water ink pen.  

The unholy poison of hate may tip you to forsake Christ, so proceed with Scriptural caution.  Jeremiah 17:13 highlights:  ‘All who forsake You [Jesus Lord and Savior] shall be put to shame; those who turn away from You shall be recorded in the underworld, for they have forsaken the fountain of Living Water, the Lord.”   Firm up in Jesus; trust Him and His salvation plan.

John 8:1-11 *

The Business of Bringing

Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever.  This is the Spirit Of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.  You know Him, because He abides with you, and He will be in you.  John 14:15-17

Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior commands us to Baptize and to make disciples of all people.  In obedience to Him we obey the 10 commandments, Love God first and Love others genuinely with Christ-like love, and participate in the servanthood of footwashing and the honor of receiving Holy Communion where Christ is always the Host.  Footwashing need not be a rarity.

Not that long ago I was teaching Bible in Sunday School class and the Scripture called for us to wash each other’s feet.  Each one of us was tenderly reminded and re-anointed with servanthood to our Lord Jesus Christ.  A man with moist eyes from tears held back told us that it had been the regular tradition of his Church he grew up in to wash each other’s feet in a Holy Service where the men sang acapella hymns.  A precious memory of the Holy Spirit’s abiding Presence thru our servanthood.

Because someone(s) prayed for you, showed you how to be obedient to Christ, and you were filled with the Spirit Of Truth Holy Spirit at your Baptism, thus you came to redemption firsthand! Share this in all ways- living, learning, loving.  By Jesus Christ, do greater works: bringing others into Christ who is the ONE way to God the Heavenly Father and abundant living. Bring others to His Cross of Love and He will take them, fill them, and use them too.

Safe Like Jesus’ great great Grand Ruth

Jesus says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen.  But it is to fulfill the Scripture, ‘The one who ate My bread has lifted his heel against me.’  I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.  Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent me.”  John 13:18-20

Jesus seeks to keep you safe from the ruining power of sinful choices.  He is your Safe Haven and the Director of your life.  Trust Jesus Christ.  Sin and satan seek to corrupt you and tear down your resolve to partner with only Jesus.  As Christ’s Spirit is within you you are safe when your total confidence and focus is only on Jesus.  Best example of how Jesus is directing events surrounding your life is found in Jesus’ great great Grand Ruth, king David’s Grandmother.

Reference Ruth 2:14, when at mealtime Boaz says to Ruth, “Come here, and eat some of this bread, and dip your morsel in the sour wine.”   After they had shared this pre-emptive Holy Communion which Jesus gives to His family of believers in John 13, Boaz instructs the young men working out in the field (where Ruth is collecting food for her mother-in-law and herself) to glean anywhere she desires from the field and says, “Do not rebuke her!”  

Thus, in the background of your life Jesus commands evil to let you glean others to give themselves wholly to Christ!  Jesus knows that He has chosen you to be His disciple and partner.  See, the person who ‘lifted his heel’ against Jesus is Judas the betrayer who chooses sin and satan, choosing destruction instead of Life in Jesus our Lord and Savior.  When you walk in the Love of Jesus you choose His commandments, which are not burdensome, 1 John 5:3.  My friend, we are gloriously joined and knit together, edifying Christ in lovingly gleaning with all other believers!  Ephesians 4:16. 

Step Into Holy Spirit Living

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:  “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.  Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”  His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of Him and had been done to Him.  John 12:14-16

It is Jerusalem entry Palm Sunday for Savior Jesus.  The believers who had been at Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus (those who enthusiastically keep telling others about that event over and over and thus bring others to faith in Jesus) and the many many who are already followers of Jesus the Son of God, shout out the “Hosanna” passage from Zachariah 9:9.  Notice, Jesus corrects this reference and redirects us to Zephaniah 3:16 through the Fourth Evangelist beloved John.

This is big!  John points us to Jesus’, “Do not be afraid” passage in Zephaniah as John (for Jesus) proclaims that the work of interpretation and reflection is through the power of faith enlivened within you by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit given at Pentecost is key to your faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

Even the apostles and first disciples had to have Pentecost of the Holy Spirit to understand.  With the Holy Spirit you then make conscious effort to understand!  So, Jesus is ‘glorified’ in His crucifixion, death, Resurrection, and ascension– and the faith with which an understanding of that is given to you when you make conscious effort to understand; during which you are being guided by the Holy Spirit.  

Footnote:  Zephaniah 3:16 and John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.”        

Jesus Is In-tune With You

Jesus says, “Where have you laid him [Lazarus]?”  They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus began to weep.  John 11:34-35

Jesus is so in tune with your emotions and your thoughts that should you ever reach the bottom depth of sadness He weeps with you.  Jesus’ humanity was real and His Holy empathy is engaged with your emotions.  No one understands you totally like Jesus does.  That is why He is the One to turn to in all circumstances, to abide in His Holiness and realign your soul parallel with Him.

Conversly, He is the One who rejoices with you when you rejoice; who fills you with His abundant Love when you are solo; who makes the Way for you when you place your faith in Him, trusting in God’s will for yourself and others.  Jesus anoints your head and hands with His Holiness to purify you, cleanse you, and direct you.  He knows you and His desire is for you to be in right relationship with Him and with other people.

There is nothing that you experience that He has not experienced, and He knows how to right things.  Trust in Him and lean not on your own understanding.  Be yourself– the strong Christian believer who hopes, loves, and has empathy with others.  He’ll catch you if you faulter.  Quickly pick you up and show you how to stand firm in faith in Him again.  He is Resurrection and that is everything.

Through The Gate

Jesus says, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the gate.  Whoever enters by Me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have Life, and have it abundantly.”  John 10:7-10

Jesus is the gate into God’s gathering of believers, the sheep fold.  True spiritual sustenance is only found in Jesus Christ.  A lifetime of salvation is given to you when you go through the gate.  To enter through the Gate you repent, are sorry for your sins, and then are Baptized.  Sometimes it does not happen in that order, for instance I was Baptized as an infant and then publically gave myself to Jesus at an altar call at a Billy Graham Crusade.  

My Baptism gave me the strong and sure guidance of the Holy Spirit, as my parents and the Church congregation promised to raise me in faith in Christ, which they did.  My public profession of faith as a young adult gave me the mark of Christ in my heart.    My abundant living started with my Baptism, as my conscience and heart have been led by the Spirit.  

The word ‘abundant’ means beyond measure.  So, with Christ you have more of all that is Him.  More confidence, guidance, empathy, prayer blessings, understanding of Jesus’ words, listening with your heart, agape love for others, peace, power to overcome evil, patience during transitions and between-time, honor and honesty, and more.  All that is good and holy is through the Gate.