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Showing posts with label Resurrection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Resurrection. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Bible Study with M.T. Clark - Scenes of Resurrection - 03/31/2024


 Today's Bible Study, Authored by M.T. Clark  03/31/2024

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: Scenes of Resurrection Podcast

Or watch the Video Zoom Session of our Study on YouTube: 




Scenes of Resurrection

Growing up with the strange pageantry of chocolate Easter Bunnies and colored hard-boiled eggs in plastic green grass-filled baskets juxtaposed with a liturgical church tradition that was heavy on ceremony and the pantomime of reverence but light on the injunction to know, read, and study the Bible did nothing to assure me of the truth of the gospel or my having a part in it. My church tradition and personal experience did convince me that I was a sinner, but it didn’t convince me that I was a Christian, and although one could graciously and truthfully say that God had his hand on me from the time I was knitted in my mother’s womb and through all the days of my life, I don’t think my faith in Jesus Christ was legit until I heard a gospel radio message that made me understand that salvation wasn’t something I had to earn but was a free gift from God and caused me to surrender to God’s plan for my life and to make Jesus the Lord and Savior of my life in March of 2010. 

Before coming to Christ, the weird bunny-egg stuff, my angst, ignorance, confusion, doubt, and sin caused me to hate Easter. It seemed to be the phoniest holiday ever created.  He is risen indeed? Was He? Was He really? Then why do these people gather in His Name seem so strange or hypocritical? Where are the miracles? Where is the genuine faith? Why do these people not live righteous lives? Where is the holiness? Where is the love? Why hasn’t my faith changed me? And why if there is a God that is good, holy, and powerful do we celebrate the event that changes world history and brings heaven to earth in such a bizarre and childish fashion?  

You got me, brother.  But We won’t blame God though… all of this bunny and egg stuff – whether it's due to the compromise of the early church to welcome pagans into the fold or it is “harmless” symbolic (idolatry) worship run amok – we will lay not confuse the way man’s worship is acted out with who God is.  And we will choose to take the high road today and obey our Lord, Savior, and Teacher and we will:

Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
34  …forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

I guess strange child-like faith is better than no faith and so I will choose to forgive the masses of “Christians” who participate and perpetuate the egg-bunny stuff on Resurrection Sunday.  As we are all called to do, I will follow.

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) that encourages me to
32  … be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

So I choose to forgive you, my Easter Bunny loving – Egg Coloring, Hiding, and Chomping brothers and sisters, for your ignorance, shallow faith, hypocrisy, and weird forms of Easter worship – because it made me doubt the Christian faith and made me feel confused, angry, and unloving.  I choose to forgive you all. In Jesus name, Amen.  

Okay, instead of focusing on the things that will invariably annoy and disturb me about today’s holiday – which truly should be the biggest Christian celebration of the year – we would instead like to share passages from the Bible that document the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus.

We pick up the Resurrection narrative in Mark – after Mary Magdalen, Mary the mother of James, and Salome – discovered the empty tomb, Jesus’s body gone, and a young man dressed in white (an angel – according to Matt 28:1-5)) who told them that Christ is risen and that they would see Him in Gailee.

Mark 16:9-11 (NKJV)
9  Now when He (JESUS) rose early on the first day of the week (SUNDAY), He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.

Matthew 28:9-10 (NKJV) tells us
9  … as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.
10  Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."

But Mark 16:10-11 (NKJV) tells us
10  She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept.
11  And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.   

But John & Luke’s gospel tell us that Peter and John believed as they ran to the tomb to confirm what they said.

Luke 24:12 (NKJV)
12  But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

John 20:3-9 (NKJV)
3  Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.
4  So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.
5  And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.
6  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,
7  and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.
8  Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.
9  For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

But He was risen indeed – and shortly after this race to the tomb – John’s gospel indicates Mary Magdelene’s seeing of the angel (s) happened after the apostles left the empty tomb.

John 20:11-17 (NKJV)
11  But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.
12  And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13  Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
14  Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
15  Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
16  Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).
17  Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.' "

So although these accounts give different perspectives of the same first encounter of the resurrection, Jesus did rise from the dead and told his disciples through Mary Magdelaine that He was alive and He would see them again, which is documented in.

John 20:19-23 (NKJV)
19  Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
20  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21  So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
22  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Jesus just suddenly appeared in their midst in a locked room and proclaimed peace to them and “breathed the Holy Spirit on them! – Sounds fantastic! 

And the scriptures tell us that even a fellow apostle – Thomas_ had difficulty in believing it. 

John 20:24-29 (NKJV)
24  Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25  The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
26  And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"
27  Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
28  And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
29  Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."     

That’s you and me – we are blessed because we have not seen and touched Jesus, like Thomas did, and yet we believe and I know if you have had experiences like I have, we can’t claim having a moment like Thomas did, but we would deny that we haven’t seen or been touched by Jesus in our lives.  

Matthew 28:17-20 (NKJV) tells us Jesus had more to say… 
17  When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
18  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Mark 16:14-18 (NKJV) tells us more about this encounter
14  Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart (Thomas…) , because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
15  And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
16  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
18  they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

John 20:30-31 (NKJV) tells us
30  And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
31  but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Our encounters with Jesus aren’t written about in scripture but they have happened, and we believe.  Jesus reveals Himself through His word as He did in the early days of His resurrection to other disciples:

Mark 16:12 (NKJV)
12  After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.

These two disciples’ account of the risen Christ is told in.

Luke 24:13-25 (NKJV) which tells us:
13  Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.
14  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15  So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16  But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
17  And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?"
18  Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?"
19  And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20  and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.
21  But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22  Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23  When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24  And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."

Luke 24:25-32 (NKJV)
25  Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26  Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"
27  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
28  Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29  But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them.
30  Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
31  Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32  And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"

Their story seems to roll into the encounters already described as the rest of Luke’s Gospel tell us.

Luke 24:33-43 (NKJV)
33  So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
34  saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
35  And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
36  Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." 37  But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
38  And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39  Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."
40  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
41  But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" 42  So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.
43  And He took it and ate in their presence.

Luke 24:44-53 (NKJV)
44  Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."
45  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46  Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48  And you are witnesses of these things.
49  Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
50  And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
51  Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
52  And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53  and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

Luke retells of this last resurrection encounter with Jesus, the ascension, in

Acts 1:4-11 (NKJV)
4  And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me;
5  for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
6  Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7  And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
9  Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11  who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

Jesus Christ literally rose from the earth and into the heavens and is promised to return to us in:  

Revelation 1:7 (NKJV) that tells us…
7  Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

There were other encounters with the resurrected Christ that are mentioned in Scripture.  The book of Acts tells of Paul’s conversion experience on the Road to Damascus in Acts 9:1-20 and he speaks of his  and others’ encounter with Jesus in  

1 Corinthians 15:6-8 (NKJV) that tells us the resurrected Jesus
6  …was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, ……by James, then by all the apostles. 8  Then last of all He was seen by me (Paul) also, as by one born out of due time.

But the scene of the Resurrection that sticks with me the most is the one with Peter spoken of in:

John 21:15-22 (NKJV)
15  So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."
16  He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep."
17  He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep. 18  Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."
19  This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."
20  Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" 21  Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"
22  Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."

Jesus’ conversation with Peter is a conversation that we are all have with God, where we must answer the Lord’s question “Do you love me?”    And if our answer is yes, we must be prepared to feed and lead the Lord’s sheep – our brother and sisters in Christ and regardless of our uncertainty of purpose or direction for this life be fully prepared to answer Jesus’ command to “Follow Me.” – wherever it may lead us.  

It's Resurrection Sunday, – Easter – if you must…, and as Christians, disciples – students and followers of Jesus, let’s not let the strange pageantry, darkness, and ignorance that surrounds this most blessed of holidays, cause us to lose the peace and the joy that the Lord gives us when we encounter and choose to follow the– the King of Kings, the Lord of Lord, the Prince of Peace, Our brother, Our Friend, Our Teacher, Our Lord, and Savior and Wonderful Counselor, and Our God - Jesus Christ.

-----Join us for another Bible Study Next Week -------

or

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Bible Study with the Cincotti's - Communion and Resurrection - 04/09/2023


 Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 04/09/2023

Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: Communion and Resurrection Podcast

Or watch the Video Zoom Session of our Study on YouTube: 


Communion and the Resurrection

 

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  I Cor. 10:16

 

I love the word “communion.” We see two words, “common” and “union” therein. Consider; unity, community, communication.

 

When we enter “Holy Week” we find two bookends of new                institutions; the supper, and the resurrection.

 

On what we call “Maundy Thursday” Jesus instituted the practice that we continue in, as a church.

         The last supper is more appropriately the last Passover.

         Jesus breaks the unleavened bread and calls it His body.

                  This is not incidental. The broken bread symbolizes His broken body. He passes a piece of it to each of the disciples. They eat it, and a piece of the whole is in each of them. But we mustn’t misunderstand the analogy. When we receive Christ, we don’t receive a small piece of Him, but all of Him.

         SS. 6:3, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

The question should never arise, “how much of Jesus did I receive?” but we should always ask ourselves, “how much am I willing to submit?”

 

        Jesus calls “the cup” (the new wine) His blood, and establishes a, “new covenant.” Lk. 22:20, “This cup is the new covenant in My                                                blood, which is shed for you,

Lev. 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”...And...

Gen. 4:10,The voice of you brother’s blood cries out to Me”

 

We are instructed by Jesus to remember these things as               often as we celebrate this meal.

The resurrection is something new. The people Jesus rose up from the dead were more accurately resuscitations. They all died again.

Rom. 8:29 calls Jesus, “the firstborn among many brethren.”

Rom. 6:10 says, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”

 

On the first day of the week Jesus instituted, by example, the resurrection which was a controversial subject in Judaism.

 

Rom. 6:5, For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.

 

         I wanted so much for the phrase “united together” to mean       communion. For the sake of accuracy, it means: planted together, closely united to; planted together.

If you’ve ever seen a corn field; that’s communion.

 

Every aspect of God’s economy is to draw us, and sometimes drive us, and even bind us together in unity with Christ and one another.

 

God’s aim is, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.                                                                                          Jer. 31:33

 

Jesus expressed it this way, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us…Jn. 17:20

 

Three meals mentioned in Scripture of covenant grace are:

         1) The Passover, which points ahead to Christ, the redeemer

         2) The Lord’s Supper, a bloodless meal that points to the cross

         3) The marriage supper of the Lamb, Rev. 19:9 anticipated.

 

Happy Resurrection Day! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!Rev. 22:20


-----Join us for another Bible Study Next Week -------

or

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Who Christ Really is for Us Today - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 40 – Purity 1012

(Photo credit: Paulette Hodges) 

Who Christ Really is for Us Today - Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 40  – Purity 1012

Purity 1012 04/08/2023 Purity 1012 Podcast

Purity 1012 on YouTube: Coming Soon!

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the last night’s post sunset twilight time comes to us from a FB friend who captured this scene near presumably near their home in Germantown NY and shared it on social media last evening , commenting that there was “no filter needed”. 

Well, It’s Holy Saturday and I am sharing a link to gotquestions.org’s biblical answer to the question of “What is Holy Saturday?” (https://www.gotquestions.org/Holy-Saturday.html ) to let the curious, like I was, know what happened on the day in between Christ’s death and resurrection.  

Spoiler alert, while Christ’s disciples mourned his loss, the Pharisees, remembering Jesus’ claim that He would rise from the dead, were asking Pontius Pilate for a guard to put on Christ’s tomb to keep anyone from breaking in.  

However, as we all know, the Resurrection was an “inside job” and no amount of Roman soldiers was going to stop Jesus from breaking out of that tomb to show the world that He was who He said He was, the Messiah – The Son of God and God the Son – and that even the grave could not hold Him down!

But on Saturday, the pharisees, the Romans, and may even some of the disciples, believed that Jesus was dead and gone – but just in case his enemies put a guard on him.  So “Holy Saturday” became a day of waiting  even those who didn’t believe in Him and some Christians will observe today in somber reflection remembering Christ’s death, and the death of other Christians who have gone into eternity before us, to acknowledge the loss but it will an acknowledgement and remembrance that will be tempered with a hope and a promise.  

We can mourn the loss of Christ and the departed saints today, but we will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection tomorrow and still have the hope and the promise of Christ’s return to earth to rule and reign forever and the resurrection of all His faithful followers still to come.   

So whether you choose to use Holy Saturday to remember the loss or to rejoice over the resurrection and the hope of Christ’s promised return, I hope you enjoy this day of waiting and have a wonderful Easter or Resurrection Sunday tomorrow.

But speaking of mourning our losses, it may be hard to believe but we have officially arrived at the last day of Lent, and the last day of our current series, the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, with Day 40.

As a final reminder, and as we have said each day of this journey, we took this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we took this journey of repentance seriously, we would not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord would use it to change us too. 

And the Lord did use this walk to change us. We are at the very least were well over 40 days older (no Lent days on Sundays remember?), but if your walk has been similar to mine, the last 40 plus days has helped to deliver you from some of the darkness and chaos of winter and into a new life of spring.  It was February 24th when I started doing this devotion on the blog, on DAY 3 of Lent, yup started late and didn’t know I was going to walk this out officially until Day 5, but it gave me a rest I desperately needed and gave me wisdom and encouragement that I didn’t have before.  This lent I have been a little more disciplined with my health and have seen some major moves of God with the Freedom in Christ course and some new insights and personal revelations through the study material, cohort community, and prayer minister that the Deeper Walk School of Prayer Ministry’s curriculum required me to see to “experience being a client.  This season of Lent just proves to me again the reason why I do this blog – share the knowledge that we are to continually lean on and learn from the Lord and if we keep “waking and talking with God” we will continue to grow and mature as we experience the grand adventure of the new life the Lord has given us to live.   

So if you are coming in late, you can walk out this 40 day journey with Bonhoeffer for yourself, at your own pace.

You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) . 

Day 40

Near the end of his life, Bonhoeffer was reported to have said the following:

“What bothers me incessantly is the question…who Christ really is for us today?”

Biblical Wisdom

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the son of Man is?” and they said, “some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets?” he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:13-16

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

Questions to Ponder

  • What is the relationship between who Jesus was two thousand years ago and “who Christ really is for us today”?

M.T. Clark: Well, We are going to have to go with Scripture on this one and proclaim that:

Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)
8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

And that just as Jesus was close and personal to his disciples two thousand years ago, He is close and personal to His disciples today.  To be with Jesus back then, you had to follow Him. He had places to go and people to see and if you wanted to know Him you had to follow Him. Likewise today, if we want to know Him we have to follow Him and we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that He has places for us to go and people for us to see.  The presence of the Christ in our lives is a tangible reality that requires our “asking, seeking, and knocking” for His wisdom, guidance, love, and strength but the good news is that if we seek Him, we will find Him. So if you don’t know Him or have experienced His presence, keep seeking Him – in His word, in prayer, and by walking and talking with Him – and surrendering yourself to His will for your life.

  • Is there a difference between asking who Christ is for us and who Christ is for me? Explain.

M.T. Clark: While Jesus is the same for all of us – our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Our God and Brother, who Christ is “for me” will be a little different for each of us because He will heal our individual hurts and empower us with individual talents for our individual purpose for the body of Christ and the kingdom of God.  We are one body, but we are not all the same, and Christ will be “different” to each of us as our relationship with Him will be highly personal.  

  • How do we go about answering the question about “who Christ really is for us today”?

M.T. Clark:  Again, I would point to Christ being who He said He was and the fact that He doesn’t change and that if we want an answer to the question of “who Christ really is for us today?”, we have to consider who we “really are” for Christ today.

If Christ is someone you only visit a couple of times a year, or just on Sundays, at a church service, He really isn’t going to be much for you. But if we are continually seeking to know Him more through consulting His word and seeking His guidance in prayer and conforming ourselves to His image in the way we live our lives, He is “really” going to be “really real” to us and He is going to really be the answer to everything in our lives. So if you want to know “who Christ really is for us today?”, you might want to ask yourself \:

“Do I really “believe this” (John 11:25-26)? Do I really believe that He is the resurrection and the life? Am I really following Him? Am I for real, in my faith?”

Psalm Fragment

“Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.” 
Psalm 46:10

Journal Reflections

  • If someone asked you who Christ really is for you today, how would you answer?

M.T. Clark: If someone asked me who Christ really is for me today, I would tell them that, Jesus is:

·       My Lord and Savior

·       My reason for Hope

·       The One who Recued me

·       The One who gave me life

·       The One who paid for my sins

·       The One who forgives me

·       ‘The One who loves me

·       The One who has answered all my questions

·       The One who has never left me of forsaken me’

·       The One who walks with me every day

·       The Other in the Fire

·       My Brother, My Lord, and My Friend

And that’s not all, but that’s some of who Christ really is for me, today, and every day.

  • You have finished a 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. How was the journey? What did you learn from Bonhoeffer? Has your understanding of what it means to be a Christian to follow Jesus changed? If so, how? What will be different in your life of faith for having taken this 40-day journey?

M.T. Clark: The Journey was great! I am a huge Bonhoeffer fan and admirer. If you didn’t know, I am so zealous about his book, Discipleship (The Cost of Discipleship) that I did a rather amateurish walk through it on YouTube (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYr9n4D1yfkpmfKHjeP5auLNK4e27Y8AX)! So doing the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a “no brainer” when I discovered it on Biblegateway. 

My understanding of what it means to be a Christian and to follow Jesus is always changing as the Lord blesses those who seek to learn from Him and that surrender themselves to His will for their life.  I was blessed every day through this study with Bonhoeffer’s writings, the scriptures, prayers, and these questions.

What will be different because of the study? Well, it’s now on the blog, the podcast, and YouTube now so I pray that others find it and decided to be inspired by it to follow the Lord and I am sure that the Holy Spirit will reserve the right to glean from the things I have learned from it to encourage myself and others in the future. 

As for me, I was on the path of Christian discipleship before I found the study and will just keep going the way the Lord directs me. Every ending on this path is merely a new beginning, and so come Monday I will see what is next but I will always remember that the season of Lent in 2023 was spent with the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  

Intercessions

Pray for all those who will read this book, that their journey with Bonhoeffer might lead them closer to Christ.

M.T. Clark:

Lord,

I thank you for the writings and faithful example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and pray for all who have walked out this devotional through the blog and the podcast with us, and to all who will go on to do the devotional on Biblegateway or who will read the book, that their journey with Bonhoeffer might lead them closer to Christ and to inspire to live out their Christian faith for all to see the abundant life that comes to all who learn from and follow Jesus.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Prayer for Today

Loving God, for where I have been and for where I am going on my journey with Jesus, I give you thanks and praise.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

 

(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)

***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.*** 

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

By  ARTHUR W. PINK

CHAPTER TWELVE

THE VALUE OF THIS DOCTRINE continues

 

We shall now consider the Value of the doctrine in detail.

8. It evokes a song of praise

It could not be otherwise. Why should I, who am by nature no different from the careless and godless throngs all around, have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and now blest with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Him! Why was I, that once was an alien and a rebel, singled out for such wondrous favors! Ah! that is something I cannot fathom. Such grace, such love, “passeth knowledge.” But if my mind is unable to discern a reason my heart can express its gratitude in praise and adoration. But not only should I be grateful to God for His grace toward me in the past, His present dealings will fill me with thanksgivings. What is the force of that word “Rejoice in the Lord alway” (Phil. 4:4)? Mark it is not “Rejoice in the Saviour,” but we are to “Rejoice in the Lord” as “Lord,” as the Master of every circumstance. Need we remind the reader that when the apostle penned these words he was himself a prisoner in the hands of the Roman government. A long course of affliction and suffering lay behind him. Perils on land and perils on sea, hunger and thirst, scourging and stoning, had all been experienced. He had been persecuted by those within the church as well as by those without: the very ones who ought to have stood by him had forsaken him. And still he writes, “Rejoice in the Lord alway”! What was the secret of his peace and happiness? Ah! had not this same apostle written “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). But how did he, and how do we, “know” that all things work together for good? The answer is, Because all things are under the control of and are being regulated by the Supreme Sovereign, and because He has naught but thoughts of love toward His own, then “all things” are so ordered by Him that they are made to minister to our ultimate good. It is for this cause we are to give “thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20). Yes, give thanks for “all things” for, as it has been well said “Our disappointments are but His appointments.” To the one who delights in the sovereignty of God the clouds not only have a ‘silver lining’ but they are silvern all through, the darkness only serving to offset the light—

“Ye fearful saints fresh courage take

The clouds ye so much dread,

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings o’er your head.”[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

 



[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 233–235.