Praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Text: Revelation 19:11-16
There’s nothing easy about being a Christian. We are living in a world where we are the vast minority. Christians are outnumbered almost three to one on this planet. To make it more challenging, we are left to believe in and defend Jesus whom we cannot see and whom we have never seen. We speak about and believe in a God that we only partly understand. That’s not easy.
The disciples had it made compared to us. They got to walk and talk with Jesus. They could see him, listen to him, eat with him, touch him. They were eyewitnesses to his miracles, his death, his resurrection. They saw Jesus ascend into heaven. We Christians would give anything to do that!
Yet many of the disciples were left with questions. They were unsure of being left behind. They were unsure of being alone. They were unsure of how they were going to carry out their task of making other disciples. So if those eyewitness disciples were left with questions or doubts in their minds, how much more difficult is it for us who have never seen Jesus before!
It shakes our confidence at times. There is so much evil around us. Terrible things are happening every day. And because we can’t see Jesus we feel alone and helpless.
Today we receive just the encouragement we need. The apostle John shares his vision of our great King and Lord Jesus Christ. This vision gives us courage and comfort to Praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for what he has done, for what he does now, and for what he will do. Read the rest of this entry
Jesus’ Power and Presence Make All the Difference in the World
Text: Matthew 28:16-20
For 40 days the disciples were reveling in the resurrection glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. How wonderful it had been! They touched him. They talked with him. They were taught by him. Their minds were opened to finally understand the Scriptures. This was not just their Teacher, this was their Savior!
Yet Matthew reveals an interesting insight from the 40th day: “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Really, disciples? Really? You have been walking and talking with the God of all whom you witnessed risen from the dead. But you are still going to doubt? You still are hesitating and wavering in your faith? To make things worse, Jesus rises up into the heavens and, POOF—he’s gone! If they were doubting before, when they saw Jesus, how much were they doubting after he had left! Read the rest of this entry
Text: Acts 1:1-11
They still didn’t get it. Before their very eyes the plan of salvation was carried out. They were eye- and ear-witnesses to the most important event and person in all of history–Jesus Christ our Savior.
Yet the disciples still asked Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” After all that Jesus had done for them, they still had a focus on Jesus accomplishing worldly things for them!
Jesus sure gave them a wake up call!
The mission and purpose of God’s people is much different. Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
When Jesus ascended into heaven he left all his disciples behind with a specific purpose and mission: Share this good news of salvation with others!
As this coming Thursday, May 17, 2012 is the day that we celebrate our Lord’s ascension into heaven (40 days after Easter), it is also an opportunity for us to recall that Jesus has left us with this all-important task. Each and every day we can be mindful of our privilege of sharing the best news of all–forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Jesus–with all who do not yet know.
Thanks be to Jesus that he has entrusted to us such a marvelous task!
Prayer: Risen and ascended Lord Jesus, fill us with courage and strength to be your witnesses to the ends of the earth. Give us a heaven-minded focus as we live in this world, that we might continually share the good news of life forever in heaven. Amen.
Set Your Hearts and Minds on Things Above
Text: Colossians 3:1-4
If only Jesus had stayed. Think how different things would be! Think how much better things would be! We wouldn’t have this terrorist problem. One flex of his pinky finger and the Muslims would be overthrown. One wave of his hand and gas prices would plummet, inflation would be deflation, and I wouldn’t have to worry about money. One loving touch and all our sicknesses and diseases would be cured.
If only Jesus stayed. Then I wouldn’t suffer so much. Then I wouldn’t be sad so much. Then I wouldn’t worry so much. Then I wouldn’t sin so much.
Sometimes I feel like Martha when her brother Lazarus died. She greeted Jesus by saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” We sing big and powerful hymns today until we are red in the face—A Hymn of Glory Let us Sing . . . Alleluia! Sing to Jesus. But wait a second! I’m not so sure I’m glad Jesus ascended to heaven. If only Jesus had stayed, then things would be better! Read the rest of this entry
This is the fifth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Acts. It should only take about 15 minutes a day, or about 4 chapters a day to complete the assignment.
Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Acts.
Background: Luke wrote the book of Acts. Luke was not one of the 12 disciples, but he was an apostle. This letter to Theophilus is a continuation of where he left off with his detailed account in his gospel. Luke the doctor investigated carefully everything that Jesus said and did for his gospel account. But for Acts, Luke was a witness of many of the events himself. There are several “we” sections in Acts that indicate Luke was with Paul on these journeys. These “we” sections are: 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16.
Some think of Acts as a record of “the Acts of the Apostles.” This could be appropriate and fitting. Perhaps a better view might be to see this book as “the Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Acts is an amazing testimony to the power of the Spirit who worked in great and mighty ways through the preaching of the gospel.
As we read Acts, it can only be our prayer that God would use us to spread his Word in such bold and courageous ways, and that God would bless our work as he blessed the work of these first believers! Read the rest of this entry