How was your Easter experience? Did you take time to re-read the biographies of Jesus about the last week of His life as human (100% God and 100% Human)?
Did you get a chance to talk with family about Phil 2:5-11?
Did you get a chance to talk with some brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage them?
Did you get a chance to talk with a few people who are far from Jesus about Easter?
I am struck by the day Jesus rose from the dead and rumors started flying around like crazy. The physician Luke wrote about an incident...
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas,asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” Luke 24:13-24
When is a good time to talk about Jesus?
All the time. Any time. Meal times.
We are starting a new message series entitled Eating With Jesus. Our purpose is build better relationships with Christians and with those far from Jesus.
How did Jesus surprisingly popped up into your conversation with someone today?
He loves to do that just like He did on that road to Emmaus.
Seeking to have life enhancing conversations with Jesus over meals together,
What was your Wednesday like?
Jesus' Wednesday (during Holy Week) was a sad, brutal day that held a deep dark secret. One of His closest friends, one of the disciples, turned his back on Jesus and sold Him out to the chief priests. This was a pre-meditated act. He had witnessed a woman who was willing to use an expensive bottle of perfume on Jesus. In Judas' mind it was a complete waste of money. It had cost about a year's worth of salary to purchase it and he watched her pour out the entire bottle in one washing. To her it was a beautiful, sacrificial gift to the One who had transformed her life. To Judas it was irresponsible and he had finally had it–he went to the ones he knew understood value.
In turn, they gave him 30 pieces of silver–about a 3 month salary.
"Then one of the Twelve–the one called Judas Iscariot–went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over." Matt 26:14-16
Do you know betrayal like this? Have you ever been betrayed by a close friend or family member?
If so, Jesus says to you, "I know how you feel."
If so, Jesus says, "I know what you are going through."
If so, Jesus says, "I understand."
Not only has Jesus experienced the betrayal by one friend, but He also experienced...
• The disciples falling asleep in the garden when Jesus needed them most.
• Judas betraying Him with a kiss for some cash.
• The Disciples ran for their lives as Jesus went through the roughest, unfair, illegal trials.
• Another close friend, Peter, denied knowing Him 3 times.
Then, on the cross... "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?!"
Jesus knows betrayal, loneliness, horror, back-stabbing.
Why did He go through all of this and more?
You know why...
Let's worship Him, Let's tell others about Him. Let's invite others to Good Friday and Easter services. Let's do what ever we can to join all of Heaven in proclaiming His name.
Seeking to honor Jesus with everything of who I am,
Ps 41:9 Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.
I love Easter season. I love to re-read and re-imagine what Jesus did and experienced the last week of His death and resurrection. What was He thinking, feeling, seeing... What will He miss most in being fully human... What can't He wait for when He ascends... When did the overwhelming fear and anguish begin... When did the "joy set before Him" re-focus Him... And then what is up with the fig tree being cursed...
Matthew wrote, "Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matt 21:18-22)
Was Jesus just angry because there was no fig fruit to satisfy His hunger? Are we just seeing His human side sneak out? Or was Jesus communicating something extremely important and powerful? Since Jesus never missed the mark, there must be a clear message being given.
In Hebrew culture, Fig Trees where part of the blessings in the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey... and fig trees. (Deut 8:8) Can you picture sitting under a 20 foot high and 20 foot wide tree enjoying the fresh fig fruit in the shade... a wonderful blessing. The lack of fig trees also revealed judgment on the land.
Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Future Coming Conquering King, reveals His Kingly and Judging-ly authority by seeing and cursing a fruitless fig tree.
The fig tree is a metaphor for the Nation of Israel, for Judaism. The leaves show much religious, human activities. The fruitlessness shows no power, no presence of God.
Jesus' entire ministry is helping people get to know the One true God, Jesus' teachings, and Jesus' way on how to get right with God. He was doing it again here. Just like He did when He cleansed the temple. Confronting Judaism and doing away with the old animal sacrificial system.
Jesus is confronting the religious view that if I just do enough good deeds I will get into Heaven. If I just know all the religious truths and do those religious truths surely God will love me and accept me into Heaven.
The Hebrews had this vision of the Messiah being this mighty military warrior. Jesus is the Mighty Warrior conquering sin, evil and death. He is the Mighty Warrior exposing the empty religious views that are teaching wrong ways on how to get right with God. Jesus is also King of Kings. He is also the Judge. We see Him sending a message... Do not put your faith in the wrong ways on how to get right with God. But, put your faith in Me.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Jesus wants us to put our faith in Jesus.
Trusting the person of Jesus, the work of Jesus, the teaching of Jesus, the purpose of Jesus, the mission of Jesus. If we do, whatever we ask for He will answer.
How do we express our faith in Jesus?
Why did we spend three months kicking off 2019?
Our prayer life reveals our faith.
Am I praying and talking with Jesus about the things He wants to do in my life, in my family, in my church, in my sphere of influence? Am I hearing Jesus ask me to confess... to let Him transform... to go on His daily mission...
Or is my prayer life pretty dormant? Or self focused? Or...
Our faith grows as our prayer life grows.
Our faith grows as we pray Jesus risky prayers.
We have been challenged to pray three daily prayers as we walk up the Buck Hill Financial Challenge together.
-Pray for every member and regular attender to have a fresh love and passion for Jesus.
-Pray for every member and regular attender to have a fresh love and passion for each other as the unique church He is creating.
-Pray for every member and regular attender to give our tithes and offerings to God through Southtown.
How has God answered our daily prayers?
Check out the financial info. Jesus blew our minds... Over $68,000 in the month of March. Causing us to go from $20,000 in the red to $10,000 in the black. We need to praise God together...
What are you praying for now?
Whom does Jesus want you to start spiritual conversation about Jesus with?
Remember Jesus style... 2 fold question... Who do others say I am? Who do you say I am?
Praying for many family members, friends and neighbors to be introduced to Jesus this Easter season,
As the greatest day in the history of the world is coming, EASTER, are you ready to celebrate?!?!
Are you ready to spend time with Jesus thanking, worshiping and listening to Him?
Are you ready to hear His mission for you this Easter season?
Or are you too busy and might it slip right on past you?
Quite often people share with me how they miss out on special things God has for them. Quite often the two holiday seasons, Christmas and Easter, get so cluttered with less important details that we miss out on what God has for us.
This Easter season, what are you going to do to make sure you do not miss out on what Jesus has in mind for you, your family, and your church?
What "risky prayers" are you going to pray?
When are you going to listen to Jesus?
Who is it that Jesus deeply wants to love using you as His presence to listen to them...
Or being His hands of giving a coffee or milkyway...
Or being His feet of willingness to do whatever it takes to show Jesus' love...
Or being His mouth of encouragement and sharing the hope of Jesus...
Let's read a few verses that start the Easter week for Jesus. How did Jesus clearly declare that He is the Messiah in the following verses?
"As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”
This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey - riding on a donkey’s colt.’”
The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.
Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!”
The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.
And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”
But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight." Matt 21:1-17 (NLT)
Seeking and worshiping the King of Kings together,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.