We Can Enter God’s Presence Because of Jesus

Something powerful happened at the moment Jesus died on the cross for us. It was no simple symbolic event. It carried with it immense meaning for us, for all who believe in Jesus. We read in Matthew 27:50-51:

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom

The curtain in the Temple separated the Holy of Holies where the High Priest would offer sacrifices from the rest of the inner temple. Only the selected priest could enter the Holy of Holies which represented the presence of God. It was so holy in fact that a rope was tied around the ankle of the priest who entered the Holy of Holies in case the priest died due to sin or error. That way the body could be pulled out without entering.

The curtain being torn from top to bottom showed that the way to enter the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, was now open for all who believe in Jesus.

In Hebrews 10 we read:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,

We can enter the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God because of the blood of Jesus. Jesus himself is the curtain. He is the new and living way to enter God’s presence.

We also read in Hebrews 10:

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

We can come to God not based on our own efforts. We enter because of Jesus. None of us are worthy on our own to enter the presence of God in prayer. But the wonderful news is that because Jesus died on the cross the way to the presence of God has been opened for us.

When we pray, we enter because of Jesus. If thoughts reminding us of our past hinder us, we can proclaim that we come to God because of Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Roman Soldiers at the Crucifixion of Jesus

Roman soldiers were men hardened by combat. They encountered many unfamiliar things to them as they served in the Roman army. One could say they would not have been easily impressed by what they observed.

Only hours before Jesus died, Roman soldiers brutally tortured Jesus taking delight in doing so. While Jesus was on the cross some of the same soldiers cast lots for his Jesus’ clothing. To them he was just another criminal to be executed.

But strange things happened while Jesus was on the cross and when he died. In Matthew 27:45 we read:

 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.

In Matthew 27:51-5 we read:

The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 

So these battle hardened soldiers who had only a short time earlier cast lots for Jesus’ clothing an mocked Jesus saw the strange darkness that covered the land in the early afternoon, felt the earthquake when Jesus died and saw the bodies of dead people in tombs around them come to life.

Their response in Matthew 27:54?

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Imagine yourself being there and seeing the eerie darkness, experiencing the earthquake when Jesus died, and seeing dead people in tombs come to life. What would you have thought?

The Roman soldiers at the cross came to their conclusion- Jesus is the Son of God.

Thank you for reading/ God Bless.

Jesus Was No Victim- He Permitted His Arrest

Even while being arrested for a mock trial, Jesus showed he was no victim. He voluntarily went to his torture and death on the cross because of his great love for us.

Imagine you are one of the detachment of soldiers sent to accompany the religious leaders to arrest Jesus. There are over 400 of you armed with swords, spears, and shields. A man comes out and asks, “Who are you looking for?” The religious leaders say, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

The man who asked, “Who are you looking for?” was Jesus himself. His response when the religious leaders said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth was, “I am he.”

BUT

Something happened when he said, “I am he.” Simply by saying those three words, he knocked you and all of your fellow soldiers down on your butts. We see it in John 18:5-6:

I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)  When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Just to make it more dramatic, imagine one of Jesus’s followers cuts off the ear of one of your fellow soldiers. We read about in Luke 22:49-50:

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

And then to amplify the intrigue, you see Jesus heal the soldiers ear. We read that in Luke 22:51:

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

So you came with over 400 fellow armed soldiers to arrest one man, Jesus. Jesus knocks all of you down on your butts with three words. Then when one of his followers cuts off the ear of a fellow soldier, Jesus heals the man’s ear and then lets you arrest him.

Perhaps you would be thinking, “this is no ordinary man” or “this is freaking me out.”

Dear readers, Jesus was no victim. He could have stopped all of it, but instead he permitted it all to happen because of his love for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle

We are all guilty before God but because of Jesus dying on the cross and taking the judgement upon himself that we deserve, we can be freed from sin and judgement. Because of Jesus, we can receive the gift of relationship with God and eternal life.

That is what this week is all about as we remember Jesus being tortured and crucified and then defeating death for us. Because of Jesus, we can be forgiven by God.

I love this song by Lauren Daigle. It expresses so well the experience of being amazed by what Jesus did for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Using An Old Rotary Phone In A Snowstorm

In October 1997, my city had a once in a hundred years snowstorm. It was 12 inches of heavy wet snow. I woke up in the morning to what sounded like explosions. I peaked outside and saw a branch snap off a tree and fall to the ground. It shut down the city for several days.

It was a Sunday morning. I woke up realizing I had no electricity. Parts of my city had no electricity for a week. I got mine back later that day.

I called one of the pastors of my church to inquire about church that morning. He asked me how I was calling since my area had no electricity.

I let him know I had an old rotary dial phone in a box and got it out to make the call. He asked me to help him call people to say no church that day. I spent an hour calling people from that old rotary phone.

Sometimes things we consider old and obsolete can still serve a purpose.

The bible encourages us to seek the ancient ways in Jeremiah 6:
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

In these times that we have plethora of books, videos, speakers to go to, I do not want to forget the book that has stood the test of time. Governments have tried to stop it and failed. The bible, the Word of God, is the most important resource for any Christian.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Arrested and Falsely Accused

I will never forget the time in my life that rumors were swirling around about why I had left the school where I was studying for the ministry and I was alienated from the friends I had before I left for the school.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death-literally. I was sick and dying and all kinds of rumors were swirling around about me and how God was punishing me. I had left the school not only because I was sick but also because I realized I could not affirm a few key doctrines of that denomination. So what to do with a guy like me? Perhaps vilify him?

Those issues have been addressed and healed over. I knew God was leading me to a new church, though at the time I thought it was to pray for the church while I was dying.

Being falsely represented and being accused is not something I would wish on anyone. We are human beings who mess up, sin, falter etc, but I would never wish that kind of experience on anyone.

Picture Jesus on the night he was arrested. There was a farce of a trial, A trial that was rigged before it began. He was falsely accused. He was abandoned by his friends. He knew what was ahead of him- torture and death on the cross. He could have stopped it, but he did not. Why? Because he loves us.

When we feel we have been falsely accused, misrepresented, or treated unfairly, we can look to Jesus. He endured much worse for us because of his love for us.

Today and tomorrow are reminders of how far Jesus went to love us unconditionally.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Resting Place by I Am They

When we are weary mentally and spiritually where do we find rest? Rest as in relief from what ails us emotionally and spiritually.

An invitation was given by Jesus to all who are weary and feel weighed down in life. In Matthew 11 he said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus invites us to him because he is gentle and humble of heart. He invites ALL who are weary.

So many of us are weary at this time because of what is happening with the COVID-19 virus. Worries about getting sick, worries about those who are sick. concerns about jobs and finances, worries about the future and how long this will last, all can weigh us down.

Where to find rest for our souls?

This week we remember Jesus dying on the cross for us because of his great love for us. That was so we could be forgiven and receive a relationship with God. His invitation is still there for ALL to come to him.

The song Resting Place by I Am They is a beautifully simple song about finding a resting place in Jesus for our weary souls. I am sharing it today for Music Monday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Keeping Easter Week During This Time

Tomorrow will be Palms Sunday. Normally one might see children walking to the front of the worship center carrying palm leaves while the congregation sings Hosanna. It is a wonderful way to start Holy Week when we remember the suffering of Jesus and his death on the cross and then celebrate his resurrection.

This year in most places people will not be gathering together in church buildings to celebrate Palms Sunday because of COVID-19 virus. But we do not need to let the gloomy circumstances around us steal our joy. Joy is not the same as feeling happy. Happiness can be fleeting depending on circumstances. Our joy is anchored in Jesus not in what happens in life.

Whether we are self isolating alone like I am, or with family, we do not have to lose the joy of Palms Sunday, the solemn observance of Good Friday remembering the death of Jesus, and the great joy of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

So today I want to share Hillsong’s Hosanna with you. Each day next week I will devote to the passion week of Jesus. I want to focus on him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.