17 ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams. — Acts 2:17 NLT
The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was a beginning of the fulfillment of this prophesy from Joel in the Old Testament. God contiues to pour out His Spirit on His people even today. This will continue until Jesus returns to take all of His children home. Then the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth and satan will reign. When will this be? Only God the Father knows. If we are saved, it doesn’t really matter when it happens, we will be ready. What does matter is how we spend our time until then. When we accepted Jesus, we were saved and we are still saved. Works will not make us more saved, they are an outward sign of who we serve as Master and Lord. The works we do here are also how we earn our rewards in heaven. We are not to live as we used to live, but through the direction of the Holy Spirit and studying of God’s Word, we are to determine those things that please God and do those things only. When we see sinful things going on, we are to expose them, not participate in them. We must learn to live wisely and not as fools. We are to spend our time, not in grumbling, whining and complaining, but in joyfully serving the Lord doing everything He asks us to do wherever He has planted us. The nosies we make should be joyful and give glory to the Lord.
1 On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. — Acts 2:1-4 NLT
Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavout (Hebrew for “Weeks”). Shavout was the celebration for the giving of the law to Moses at Mount Sinai. That occurred fifty days after the Passover in Egypt. It was now the fiftieth day since the Passover had been celebrated in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit was given at this time confirming the New Covenant of Grace and the beginning of what we call the “church” age. When the Bible says that we can do nothing without Jesus (John 15:5) but we can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13), the verses are referring to the strength and direction that we receive from the Holy Spirit who abides in us. He gives us the words to say and the ability to say those words. We need to make plans, study and be prepared to always give a reason for our hope in Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 3:13), but we should always be flexible enough to make an adjustment in our plans. Why? Because we can’t plan for every conceivable event but the Holy Spirit can and does. It is He Who will give us the exact words to speak and the strength to speak them in any situation. (Luke 12: 11-12). Just be obedient and trust the Holy Spirt for strength and safety.
35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! — Luke 24:35-37 NLT Appearances
All day Sunday and Sunday night, Jesus appeared to different people. As He revealed to each who He was, they were frightened. The truth of all the things that Jesus had told them had still not become a reality to them. Though for the better part of three years, Jesus had taught them in an effort to prepare them for His death and resurrection, it was still hard to accept the truth–Jesus is alive! Could this really be Jesus resurrected from the tomb? Yes, it must be so!
Looking back from this side of the cross, it would be very easy for us to criticize the disciples for their slowness to accept the truth. It would be very easy for us to say, “how could they not believe?” Yet, today when Jesus reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit, aren’t we just as slow to accept the Gospel as the truth? Aren’t we just as doubtful? Could this story really be true? Does such love exist? We have an abundance of information, both Biblical and historical, that these events occurred just as they are recorded in the Gospels. We have three witnesses, one of which the disciples didn’t have at this time and would not have until after Jesus ascended. Our mission is to spread the Good News knowing that the Holy Spirit will confirm it as the Truth.
5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” — Matt. 28:5-7 NLT
AN ANNOUNCEMENT — JESUS IS NOT HERE!
AN EMPTY TOMB — COME! SEE WHERE HIS BODY WAS LYING!
GO! TELL HIS DISCIPLES! HE IS RISEN!
JESUS HAS WON THE VICTORY!
ACCEPT IT! BELIEVE IT!
RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!
YOU ARE NOW A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OF GOD!
REJOICE FOREVERMORE! PRAISE HIM CONTINUOUSLY!
33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. — Mark 15:33 NLT
3 I dress the skies in darkness, covering them with clothes of mourning.” — Isaiah 50:3 NLT
At noon on Friday, the sun was hidden as nature mourned the approaching death of our Lord and Savior. At three o’clock on Friday afternoon, the Light of the world was extinguished. It was a time of deep darkness and mourning for all of nature and the followers of Jesus. It seemed that satan and his demons had won a great victory. At three o’clock, the natural light reappeared. Could this have been a sign that the Spiritual light would also reappear, that all was not as it seemed to be? A heaviness lay over the people and the land. Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night was a time of grieving and wondering. Could they have been wrong about this man, Jesus? Was He not really the Messiah? A time of fear, could they be the next to die? For a moment, imagine that you are one of the disciples at that very time. Look at the situation through their eyes, not knowing the final outcome of this event. Take the time to imagine the scene on the cross and mourn the death of your teacher and closest friend. His promise that He would always be with them must have seemed pretty hollow about then. Would your faith have carried you through this event? What would your reaction have been? Would you have been able to remember and believe all the promises at this particular point? Would you still beilieve that He would arise after three days? Now, back to the present. Will our faith carry us through what God has in store for us now? When temptation stares us in the face, will we give in? Knowing the whole story, how will we respond to the times of darkness and mourning in our lives? Will we remember that there is hope? Will we remember that “joy comes in the morning”?
50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. — Matt. 27:50-53 NLT (Read The Whole Story)
After the Lord’s Supper was completed, Jesus and the disciples went to Gethsemane. Jesus took His three closest friends and went a little further into the Garden. Leaving them there, He went a stone’s throw further and began to pray. In our darkest hours, we are sometimes separated from those who love us, left alone with just us and our Father. It is then that we can pray effectively and fervently. Jesus prayed so fervently that He sweat great drops of blood. Then Judas came with the religious leaders and soldiers. He came to betray Jesus with a kiss. A kiss, not of affection but of deceit and deception. What had begun as a farewell celebration for Jesus ended in a long night and day of sorrows for Jesus.
A night and day of being denied by His friends, a night and day of being persecuted and falsely accused, a night and day of being mocked, beaten and spat upon. The culmination was HIs being hanged on a cross until He gave up His spirit. Nothing short of God’s love could cause a person to submit to such indignation and punishment. Especially when that person was innocent of any sin. So, why would He do it? He did it for you and for me. We weren’t there physically, but every sin we ever committed or ever will commit was there separating Jesus from HIs Father for that short space of time. Unthinkable! Unimaginable! That anyone could love others so much that they would agree to suffer a death that was so horrible it defies imagination.
Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did for us.
26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant[d] between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. 29 Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” — Matt. 26:26-29 NLT (Read Matt 26:1-30)
Earlier, that day, Jesus had been anointed with alabaster perfume at the house of Simon, the leper. He told those that criticized the woman’s act of kindness that she had anointed His body in preparation for burial. Later, Judas goes to the leading priests and offers to betray Jesus. Then, sometime later, the disciples asked Jesus about the preparation for the Passover meal. Jesus gave them the instructions and they went into town to prepare the room and the meal. As evening approached, they were all seated around the meal and Jesus informed them again that He must die. He also informed them that one of them would betray Him. Judas rightly assumes that he is the one of whom Jesus speaks.
Jesus then blesses the bread, explains its significance and gives it to the disciples to eat. After that, He blesses the wine, explains its significance and gives it to the disciples to drink. Each time we take Communion, we participate in the Last (or Lord’s) supper with Jesus and His disciples. We are instructed to continue to do this in remembrance of Him until He returns to take us all home. There we will sit at the banquet table and do this again as we participate in the wedding feast that He has prepared for us. How often should we partake of the Communion? As often as the Holy Spirit directs each of us to do so. A good guideline in anything concerning Jesus is that you can never get more than you need and we sure don’t want to have too little of His goodness.
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. — John 8:28-30 NLT (Read John 8:12-30)
The Pharisees and the ruling class were still trying to find a way to be rid of Jesus. They were always trying to catch Jesus in some error or saying something that they could define as blasphemy. This would allow them to take Him to the Romans and ask for the death penalty. As Jesus taught the people, His words had again infuriated the Jewish leaders with His claim about who He was. In this passage, He not only tells them who He is, He also prophesies that He will die by being hung on a cross. He also refers to Himself as “I AM” in this translation. The same way God had always referred to Himself in the Old Testament. God and Jesus both referred to themselves in the present tense, never in the past and never in the future. We say God was, God is and God will always be. They just say “I AM”. They live in and refer to life in the present or the “now”. We should follow their example and live our lives the same way. As Mother Teresa once said: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Though Jesus knew that He would die on a cross in a few days, He did not let that deter Him from doing what our Father had sent Him to do. We should not let regrets from yesterdays or worries and fears about tomorrow deter us from accomplishing God’s purpose and plan for us today.
14 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good.
16 Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. –Psalm 90:14-16 NLT
God has an abundant supply of Love and Mercy. As we arise each morning and acknowledge Him as our Savior and Lord, His Spirit renews us and prepares us for the battles of the day. Immediately, satan attacks our minds filling them with fearful thoughts of what the day will bring, reminding us of all the things we have failed to accomplish in the past. The devil, the father of lies, begins to tell us that we will not be able to make it through the day without some sort of catastrophe. The Holy Spirit speaks peace, love, and joy, telling us to lean on Jesus and He will fight our battles for us. We must learn which voice to listen to and heed. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice, they follow Him and He gives them eternal life so that they will never perish. If we listen to His voice, we will learn to live in peace. He will restore all the things that satan has taken away from us and replace the evil with good. Let us learn to listen and live the abundant life that Jesus died to give us. Let us spend less time each day focused on the lies of the evil one and more time on the goodness of God. Those around us will see that and get a glimpse of the glory of God.