Baptist Message http://baptistmessage.com "Helping Louisiana Baptists Impact the World For Christ" Sun, 21 Apr 2019 11:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Easter Reflections – Day 33 http://baptistmessage.com/easter-reflections-day-33/ Sun, 21 Apr 2019 11:00:50 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=41987 As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday. Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection. Day 33: John […]

The post Easter Reflections – Day 33 appeared first on Baptist Message.

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As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection.

Day 33: John 19-21 (NKJV)

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(John 19)

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.

Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

Pilate’s Decision

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!

Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to [b]our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have [c]power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”

16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

The King on a Cross

17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:

JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

20 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ’ ”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. 24 They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:

“They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.”

Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Behold Your Mother

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

It Is Finished

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. 36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.”37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

Jesus Buried in Joseph’s Tomb

38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

(John 20)

The Empty Tomb

Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord

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.’ ”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

The Apostles Commissioned

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.”

Seeing and Believing

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 You May Believe

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.

(John 21)

Breakfast by the Sea

After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and [l]immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”

They answered Him, “No.”

And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”

11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

Jesus Restores Peter

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.”

The Beloved Disciple and His Book

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.”

23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

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Easter Reflections – Day 32 http://baptistmessage.com/easter-reflections-day-32/ Sat, 20 Apr 2019 13:00:28 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=41984 As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday. Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection. Day 32: John […]

The post Easter Reflections – Day 32 appeared first on Baptist Message.

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As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection.

Day 32: John 16-18 (NKJV)

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(John 16)

Jesus Warns and Comforts His Disciples

16 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you,sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

Sorrow Will Turn to Joy

16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”

17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”

19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’?20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Jesus Christ Has Overcome the World

25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”

29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”

31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

(John 17)

Jesus Prays for Himself

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep[j]through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me;for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

(John 18)

Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”

They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus said to them, “I am He. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He, they drew back and fell to the ground.

Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?”

And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

Before the High Priest

12 Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. 13 And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. 14 Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was [r]expedient that one man should die for the people.

Peter Denies Jesus

15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”

He said, “I am not.”

18 Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.

Jesus Questioned by the High Priest

19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.

20 Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where [t]the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. 21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”

22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”

23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?”

24 Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter Denies Twice More

25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said, “I am not!”

26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

In Pilate’s Court

28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the [v]Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. 29 Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”

30 They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”

31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.”

Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” 32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”

35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

Taking the Place of Barabbas

39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

40 Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

 

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Jesus’ resurrection – a greater comeback story than Tiger Woods http://baptistmessage.com/jesus-resurrection-a-greater-comeback-story-than-tiger-woods/ Fri, 19 Apr 2019 13:00:45 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=42142 By Jeff Ginn Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer of all time. He had a meteoric rise to fame, success, and wealth. For 683 weeks he was the number one golfer in the world. Then life crashed in around him. He was caught in scandal. His wife left him. He suffered a string of […]

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By Jeff Ginn

Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer of all time. He had a meteoric rise to fame, success, and wealth. For 683 weeks he was the number one golfer in the world.

Then life crashed in around him. He was caught in scandal. His wife left him. He suffered a string of injuries that necessitated multiple surgeries including four on his back. Some wondered if he would ever walk again, much less compete in golf.

He fell out of the top 1,000 golfers in the world. For eleven years he failed to win a single major tournament. His career was as good as dead.

Until last Sunday.

He teed it up against the world’s best at the Masters. In a fairytale-like ending he came from behind to win his fifth green jacket—22 years after he won his first. Most sports commentators say that this is the greatest comeback in all of sports history.

But, let me be clear, as great as is Tiger’s redemption story, there is a greater comeback story than that.

And it happened on a Sunday morning too!

It is the story of Jesus — once dead now raised to life! Now that’s a comeback story for the ages!

British sports writer Jim White said, “Tiger Woods’ Masters’ triumph showed yet again why there is no greater storyline than redemption.”

I couldn’t agree more. Redemption is the greatest storyline in sports and life! And Jesus’ resurrection makes possible our redemption!

Jeff Ginn is senior pastor at Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. This editorial first appeared on his Facebook page.

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Easter Reflections – Day 31 http://baptistmessage.com/easter-reflections-day-31/ Fri, 19 Apr 2019 13:00:36 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=41981 As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday. Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection. Day 31: John […]

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As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection.

Day 31: John 13-15 (NKJV)

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(John 13)

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you [b]know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, yourLord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Jesus Identifies His Betrayer

18 “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19 Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. 20 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” 22 Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.

23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.

25 Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it. And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.

30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

The New Commandment

31 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

36 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?”

Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”

37 Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.”

38 Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.

(John 14)

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The Father Revealed

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

The Answered Prayer

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Jesus Promises Another Helper

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Indwelling of the Father and the Son

19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

The Gift of His Peace

25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.

(John 15)

The True Vine

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Love and Joy Perfected

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

The World’s Hatred

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

The Coming Rejection

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

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State churches urged to apply for DHS grants http://baptistmessage.com/state-churches-urged-to-apply-for-dhs-grants/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 22:55:36 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=42152 By Will Hall, Message Editor ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – The Department of Homeland Security has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity relating to the 2019 Nonprofit Secu­rity Grant Program which offers funds to upgrade the security of facilities as pro­tection against threats of violence due to “ideology, beliefs or mission. Churches and religious schools have about […]

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By Will Hall, Message Editor

ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – The Department of Homeland Security has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity relating to the 2019 Nonprofit Secu­rity Grant Program which offers funds to upgrade the security of facilities as pro­tection against threats of violence due to “ideology, beliefs or mission.

Churches and religious schools have about two weeks to submit grant requests to the Louisi­ana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness.

If nonprofits are unable to meet the tight deadline for 2019, they should sub­mit requests this year in order to be considered for the 2020 program.

The U.S. Congress pro­vided $60 million for the FY19 program, which also covers synagogues and mosques, and Louisiana is expected to receive about $200,000 to $300,000 of that allocation. Last year, the state approved four grant requests.

IMPORTANT: The church is making the request to FEMA, but the state will submit the actual application based on the information the church provides (if the state ap­proves the request).

Based on the process used in previous years:

  1. The first step is to apply for a Data Univer­sal Numbering System (DUNS) number.
  2. The church also must complete a vulnerability assessment.
  3. An Investment Jus­tification form must be completed.
  4. Finally, a budget must be submitted.

Contact the state office, 225.358.5599, for specific forms and instructions, and, ask for both the re­gion and parish contacts in your area.

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Governor’s Prayer Breakfast centers capital on Christ http://baptistmessage.com/governors-prayer-breakfast-centers-capital-on-christ/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 22:49:06 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=42149 By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer BATON ROUGE (LBM) — For more than an hour, clergy, community leaders and public officials prayed for Gov. John Bel Edwards, the military, law enforcement, first responders and the state, April 10, at the Raising Canes Center in Baton Rouge, unit­ing more than 1,000 legisla­tors, pastors, businessmen and others […]

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By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer

BATON ROUGE (LBM) — For more than an hour, clergy, community leaders and public officials prayed for Gov. John Bel Edwards, the military, law enforcement, first responders and the state, April 10, at the Raising Canes Center in Baton Rouge, unit­ing more than 1,000 legisla­tors, pastors, businessmen and others as the body of Christ just days after the start of the 2019 state legislative session.

Ray Swift, administrative pastor at the First Baptist Church in Lafayette, delivered an invocation and Charles Harper, steering committee chairman, introduced the head table of program per­sonalities and other special guests.

State Rep. Katrina Jackson, Assistant District Attorney Ken Fabre, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, Ascension Parish Sheriff Deputy and Chap­lain Ken Spivey, state Rep. Thomas Carmody, Jr., and steering committee member Phillip Juban were among others offering prayers and reading scripture during the annual the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.

Keynote speaker Ken Boa, president of Reflections Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia, reminded the crowd to live out God’s purpose for them.

“His desire for you and me is that we will live a life that will so reflect a life of Christ in us that you live a life that demands an explanation,” he said. “And that is my desire for all of you, that you will live well, that you love well, learn well and live well. And that God will then be pleased. And your desire is to be pleas­ing to Him.”

He also told them how they should run the race.

“Those who finish well learned how to love well, learn well and live well,” he said. “They have learned to understand intimacy with Jesus is the key to finishing well.”

In his closing remarks, Edwards, who was introduced by his wife Donna, thanked the crowd for their commit­ment to pray for him and legislators as they make criti­cal decisions in the coming months.

“We’re called upon to [pray] every day,” he said. “Let us not be caught asleep in our faith. I believe we are called, those of us in pub­lic service, to be servants. Through our service we actu­ally have the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Edwards, citing Proverbs 31:8-9, said elected officials are called to speak up for those who are unable to do so them­selves. Likewise, he said all Christ followers are charged with a similar task.

“The Bible is replete with references that God will order our steps,” he said. “But we have to move our feet. We have a role to play in that. So, as we return to our daily rou­tines, I ask that you continue to pray for our country and for our state and leaders at all levels that we will reason together and that we will do what is in the common inter­est.”

Jay Johnston, associate pas­tor of the First Baptist Church in Covington and a member of the steering committee for the event, said he was pleased that so many turned out early in the morning to pray.

“The Governor’s Prayer Breakfast offers the people of the state of Louisiana to come together and publicly pray for our governor and elected officials,” Johnston said. “I en­courage all Louisiana Baptist pastors to commit to making this a priority in the future.”

Tim Hisaw, pastor of Tioga First Baptist Church, left with a sense of encouragement and hope for the state.

“This was my first time to attend the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast and I was amazed by the number of attendees,” he said. “There was genuine, heartfelt prayer offered up to God for our nation, our state, our elected officials and first responders. The keynote speaker, Ken Boa, brought a winsome and challenging message about living in rela­tionship with Christ. I was honored to be there and my outlook and hope for our state was encouraged for having been in attendance.”

Brad Delaughter, pastor at Satsuma Baptist in Livingston, said he was blessed to see so many come together to pray for the state and its elected officials.

“Dr. Boa was a blessing as he reminded us of what it means to live with an eternal perspective and to build relationships with God and others for the Kingdom,” he said. “I was personally blessed by hearing of our governor’s faith and concern for our state.”

The 55th annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast takes place annually during the first few days of the Louisiana Legislative session. According to the Prayer Breakfast website, the event’s purpose is to “seek God’s guidance for all leaders and citizens of our State, and to strengthen ourselves for the journey as we try to live as a responsible community of faith. It is an interdenominational event centered on the person of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and is intended to promote His glory.”

For information on starting a prayer ministry or about ways to participate in the National Day of Prayer May 2, contact Johnston at jaygjohnston@gmail.com.

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Louisiana readies for National Day of Prayer http://baptistmessage.com/louisiana-readies-for-national-day-of-prayer/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 22:45:07 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=42146 ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – Louisiana Baptists will gather at churches and other venues throughout the state, May 2, with the single purpose of calling out to God as part of the annual National Day of Prayer. Jay Johnston, coordinator for the Louisiana National Day of Prayer Task Force, believes prayer is near to the heart of […]

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ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – Louisiana Baptists will gather at churches and other venues throughout the state, May 2, with the single purpose of calling out to God as part of the annual National Day of Prayer.

Jay Johnston, coordinator for the Louisiana National Day of Prayer Task Force, believes prayer is near to the heart of God.

“Prayer unifies our hearts and lives and is used by God to change us not change Him nor our circumstances,” said Jay Johnston, associate pastor of the First Baptist Church in Covington. “I hope you will take time in your home or your church, neighborhood, school, city hall or at the state Capitol to pray on Thursday, May 2, 2019.”

­This year’s National Day of Prayer theme is “Love One Another,” based on John 13:34 – “Love one another, just as I have loved you.”

Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd is national chairman of what the National Day of Prayer Task Force describes as a “grass roots movement” in which local churches or communities plan how, when and where they want to pray, and the specific content of those prayers.

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Easter Reflections – Day 30 http://baptistmessage.com/easter-reflections-day-30/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 13:00:11 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=41978 As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday. Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection. Day 30: John […]

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As Easter approaches, the Baptist Message team invites you to pause daily from the hustle and bustle of life to focus on the days leading up to Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

Join us in this challenge to read through the Gospels to get a greater understanding of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection.

Day 30: John 10-12 (NKJV)

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(John 10)

Jesus the True Shepherd

10 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came [a]before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is [c]mad. Why do you listen to Him?”

21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

The Shepherd Knows His Sheep

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in [d]doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, [e]as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Renewed Efforts to Stone Jesus

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”

33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and [f]believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.

The Believers Beyond Jordan

40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed. 41 Then many came to Him and said, “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” 42 And many believed in Him there.

(John 11)

The Death of Lazarus

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Jesus and Death, the Last Enemy

28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.” 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, [i]saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”

32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”

They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”

35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”

Lazarus Raised from the Dead

38 Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone [j]from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”

49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority;but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.

55 And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.

(John 12)

The Anointing at Bethany

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was [l]who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

The Plot to Kill Lazarus

Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

The Triumphal Entry

12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

“Hosanna!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
The King of Israel!”

14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
Behold, your King is coming,
Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

The Fruitful Grain of Wheat

20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much [o]grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Jesus Predicts His Death on the Cross

27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”

35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you.Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

Who Has Believed Our Report?

37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

“Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”

41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

Walk in the Light

42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not [r]believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority;but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

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PALM SUNDAY: ‘Hosanna – He is coming!’ http://baptistmessage.com/palm-sunday-hosanna-he-is-coming/ Wed, 17 Apr 2019 18:12:07 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=42139 By Rhonda Harrington Kelley NEW ORLEANS (BP) – On a recent pilgrimage to Israel, our group made a brief stop in a small village that left a lasting impression. The town of Bethphage is located near the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. Today a church commemorates the place where Jesus began His triumphal entry into […]

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By Rhonda Harrington Kelley

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – On a recent pilgrimage to Israel, our group made a brief stop in a small village that left a lasting impression.

The town of Bethphage is located near the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. Today a church commemorates the place where Jesus began His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and where He met Martha of Bethany after the death of her brother Lazarus.

I loved this special place because of the beautiful and quiet setting, and also because Martha has always been one of my favorite women of the Bible. I so relate to her focus on serving others.

A colorful fresco painting behind the altar of the church in Bethphage depicts the joyous processional of Jesus, and other paintings around the church portray His followers. I love the painting of Martha with her sister Mary of Bethany. The artwork is a profound expression of how the early Christians celebrated the Promised King, and is a reminder to Christians today to focus on the fulfillment of those biblical promises, especially as we observe Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

All four Gospels include an account of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19). They incorporate the Messianic promises in the Old Testament and record details of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Your time would be well-spent reading those passages in anticipation of Easter Sunday. Three themes emerge from these Scriptures offering instruction to Christians today: Prepare for the Savior, Proclaim the message of salvation, and Praise the King of Kings.

Prepare

Jesus gave specific instructions to His disciples to find a donkey and a colt for Him to ride into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:2-3). Jesus was prepared, and He taught His followers to be prepared. He told them where to find the animal and what to say to the owners. Jesus knew every detail of His future and wanted to include believers in His journey.

Christians today must be prepared to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the return of our Savior. What will you do this year to prepare yourself and your family for Palm Sunday? Personally, I read the four Gospel accounts of the triumphal entry to prepare myself and others for Easter.

Proclaim

Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy, the promised Deliverer, yet not in a political way but a spiritual way. The prophets of the Old Testament proclaimed, “Surely your salvation is coming” (Isaiah 62:11) and “Your King is coming to you … lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).

Just as the prophets of old proclaimed the coming of Jesus, Christians today should proclaim Jesus to this lost world, especially during Holy Week when hearts may be more open to the truth of the Gospel. What will you do to proclaim Jesus this Palm Sunday? I plan to mail to family and friends Easter cards that proclaim the resurrection of Jesus instead of cards celebrating the Easter bunny.

Praise

With great joy and enthusiasm, a multitude of people spread their clothes and branches cut from trees on the road where Jesus would ride. They shouted: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). Upon His arrival in Jerusalem, the people processing with Him glorified the Messiah saying: “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:11).

What will you do this Easter season to praise the Lord? Encourage your family to select a favorite Easter song. Ours is “Up from the Grave He Arose.”

Just as the followers of Jesus waved palm branches as He entered into the holy city of Jerusalem, Christians today should celebrate the promised return of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Though the triumphal entry marked the beginning of the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the resurrection of Jesus later that week promised the return of the Savior to reclaim His children. The humble and lowly processional made way for a glorious and victorious second coming of the King. Join me on this Palm Sunday and every day proclaiming, “Hosanna — He is coming!”

Rhonda Harrington Kelley is director of the Ministry Wife Program and adjunct professor of women’s ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where her husband Chuck is president. She served as chairwoman for the SBC Executive Committee’s Women’s Ministry Advisory Council.

 

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EASTER: Growing up with death http://baptistmessage.com/easter-growing-up-with-death/ Wed, 17 Apr 2019 18:07:07 +0000 http://baptistmessage.com/?p=42136 By Charles S. (Chuck) Kelley Jr. NEW ORLEANS (BP) – My childhood was different than most. I grew up in the home of a funeral director. For the first years of my life, we literally lived in the funeral home itself in an apartment above the family rooms, casket room and chapel. Far earlier than […]

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By Charles S. (Chuck) Kelley Jr.

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – My childhood was different than most. I grew up in the home of a funeral director. For the first years of my life, we literally lived in the funeral home itself in an apartment above the family rooms, casket room and chapel.

Far earlier than most, I learned an essential truth about life: Death is inevitable for all.

My father handled funerals for the elderly and the young, the healthy and the sick, the wealthy and the poor, the unknown and the famous, including a service for the Big Bopper, whose huge hit “Chantilly Lace” made him a household name until a plane crash ended his life.

Some deaths were expected and natural; others were shocking and tragic. The causes of death varied widely, and the timing of death was often unpredictable. But whatever the cause or whenever the timing, death was, is, and ever will be the experience of all who live, whether we like it or not. Many seek to avoid this truth, but none can avoid its reality.

I walked into the back of the funeral home very early one Saturday morning during high school and saw the name Walter Portius on the board listing those who passed away overnight. We were in class together on Friday morning, but he died in a wreck that night. We chatted about weekend plans and then he was gone forever. Death is inevitable for all.

This child of a funeral director also learned a second truth early in life: People react to death differently. Some are calm and quiet. Others are hysterical and grief-stricken. Most are sad, but some are grateful, for a variety of reasons both good and bad. A surprising number of people die alone, unmourned. Some families go through the motions to get the funeral behind them as quickly as possible. Others take great care to celebrate and show respect for the one who passed.

I drove the limousine to and from the graveside for many families, who sat in pervasive silence, or with tears flowing freely, or with laughter and joy growing out of family memories and experiences. While death is a reality all must face, we will not face it in identical ways.

This opportunity to observe and serve those in the process of grief, loss and death over and over again through my adolescence made a third truth quite clear to me: The death and resurrection of Jesus makes a huge difference in how one handles the inescapable reality of death.

On Good Friday, Jesus died and was buried. Because He went before us, we need not fear what lies ahead. A favorite preacher once said, “He cleaned out the grave and made it a pleasant place to be!” Jesus died and was buried. However, He went one step further. Jesus overcame death and rose from the grave. He demonstrated that death may be inevitable, but it is not undefeatable!

As I grew up in the family of a funeral director, I saw again and again the enormous difference the resurrection of Christ makes to Christians when death comes calling on people of faith. Week after week and year after year, I watched 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 come vividly to life as Christians passed through my father’s funeral home:

“So when this corruption shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?”

The experience of death and funerals was consistently different for those who embraced Jesus. The sadness was real as it is for most, but the certain hope of death’s ultimate defeat was also present, and that hope made all the difference.

This is why you and your family need to fully embrace and celebrate Good Friday and Easter this year. In fact, don’t call it Easter.  Call it Resurrection Day. Death is coming for us all, but for every believer so is the unquenchable, eternal life of Jesus!

Charles S. (Chuck) Kelley Jr. is president and professor of evangelism at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. After 43 years at the seminary as a student, faculty member and president, he and his wife Rhonda will retire on July 31. He will continue his research, writing and speaking on the Great Commission. His latest work is “Fuel the Fire: Lessons from the History of Southern Baptist Evangelism.”

 

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