“Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.
John Henry Newman 1801 –1890
The power of the resurrection has Spiritual and practical implications. The resurrection gave the apostles power to witness. That power brought great grace on all of them. That grace brought unity of the Spirit and koinonia to them.
• They gathered
• They prayed
• The place was shaken
• They were filled with the Holy Spirit
• They spoke the Word of God with boldness
• They were of one heart and one soul
• They shared their possessions
• None of them lacked
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and
They spoke the word of God with boldness.
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul;
Neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but
They had all things in common.
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
And great grace was upon them all.
Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for
All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them,
And brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,
And laid them at the apostles’ feet;
And they distributed to each as anyone had need.
The power of the resurrection was so strong that these people were in total unity. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They experienced the unity of the Spirit which gave them the spirit of unity. They made sure that no one lacked and that all needs were met. Selfishness had fled and community had come. Even though there were many of them, they were of one heart and one soul. The apostles were trustworthy to administer the supply of the group and distribute to each need.
Such is the power of the Resurrection. It will change your life. It will empower you to witness. It is the truth. That is why it is so powerful. The truth can be buried but it will rise again in time.
Love the Truth. Live the Truth. Teach the Truth. Share the Truth. The resurrection is the Truth of The Word of God and the Son of God. It will give you power and it will set you free.
Easter is over again for another year. Each Christian holiday comes once a year. As soon as one is over we look for the next one to arrive. Each has its special impact on the Church. What impact do they have on our lives?
The Easter celebrations are a joyous time. Families gather. People, who never go to Church any other time, go to Church services. New clothing, candy, ham, and other specialties adorn our lives. Is there any lasting effect? The preacher intones, “He is risen.” The people respond, “He is risen indeed.” What does that mean?
In Colossians chapter three Paul writes,
If you then be risen with Christ,
Seek those things which are above,
Where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
Paul tells the Colossians that there needs to be a personal response to the resurrection. If indeed you are risen with Christ – have participated in the resurrection of Jesus – then what?
Are you seeking those things which are above, or is your affection of things of earth? Seeking indicates an intentional and continual action. The Biblical response to the resurrection is a re-evaluation of affections and intentions. What specifics does Apostle Paul mention?
• Set your mind on things above
• Be dead to sin
• Mortify the corrupt passions and carnal desires
• Speak the truth
• Put off the old man
• Put on the new man
• Be kind and gentle with love and the spirit of peace
• Build up one another
• Sing Psalms and songs of praise
• Duties of wives
• Duties of husbands
• Duties of children
• Duties of fathers
• Duties of servants
Where Christ sits on God’s right hand
• Christ is sitting at the right hand of God
• God has raised us up to sit in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus
• We are also ‘sitting’ there if we have fixed our affections on things above
• Christ died and is risen and is at the right hand of God
• Making intercession for us.
That is where Jesus is right now.
• Is your heart there?
• Is your affection there?
• Is your behavior there?
• What impact does the resurrection have on your life?
• Are you out-of-step with the world around you?
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:
For ye serve the Lord Christ.
But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and
There is no respect of persons.
If you are indeed risen with Christ – live that way.
If you are indeed risen with Christ – you are living that way.
Live like a person whose heart is in heaven
Live like a person who is “seated” with Jesus Christ
At the right hand of God.
Jesus has died and risen for your salvation.
He is giving you specific admonition so
Your life is the evidence that
You really are saved.
Resurrection power will change your life
Friday – the fateful day – began in the very early hours of the morning. Jesus prayed to His Father asking that, if possible, the bitter cup could be removed from Him. Jesus was very deeply distressed and troubled. Three times He asked His disciples to pray for Him. Three times they fell asleep. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.
Sometime during the very early morning Judas arrived with soldiers. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Peter cut off the ear of the servant of the High priest. Jesus healed the man and warned that those who take the sword will die by the sword.
Jesus was arrested and subjected to six trials: three Jewish trials and three Roman trials. False accusations were brought against Him. False witnesses disagreed on their testimony, but the trials proceeded. Jesus was bound, blind-folded, slapped, beaten, spit upon – He was charged with treason, refusing to pay taxes, making Himself a king, and blasphemy.
To most accusations, Jesus said nothing. He had spoken out powerfully against the religious system. He had spoken in defense of persons who were neglected. But, when the accusations were against Him personally, He was silent. Apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate. Most of it was silent.
Twice He stood before Pilate, the puppet procurator hired to keep the peace for Rome. Four times Pilate declared Him to be innocent and wanted to release Him. In spite of this, Pilate succumbed to the will of the people and delivered Jesus up for crucifixion. Before crucifixion, Pilate had Jesus scourged – a terrible whipping capable of causing death. Jesus was unrecognizable – His back torn open to the ribs.
Jesus was mocked. A royal robe placed on Him and a crown of thorns was placed on His head. The Creator was crowned with the curse of creature disobedience.
Those who lauded Him on Sunday now called for His death. The persuasive religious leaders persuaded the common folk to call for Jesus death.
The trials of Jesus were illegal – His death was illegal but it made no matter-
Life may do that to you – if so, God has His reasons.
He did then and He does now.
Barabbas was set free. We are all Barabbas – and Barabbas is us.
We are guilty men made innocent because an innocent man was made guilty.
Physically – slow, painful, bodily death on the cross
Emotionally – rejected by His people, disciples fled and left Him alone
Spiritually – forsaken by God, carrying the sins of the whole world
Even nature grew silent when Jesus suffered and died.
Perhaps even angels hovered over Heaven, wondering when the order would come to rescue their Lord. But, it did not come. Jesus could have called them by asking His Father. They could keep Him in all His ways. He who was their King would die while they watched in awe as salvation was wrought. These are things the angels desire to understand.
Excruciating – from the cross –Jesus carried His cross as far as He could.
Simon was then pressed into the service of the condemned King.
• Jesus was crucified. Between two thieves, Jesus was crucified.
• For you and for me, Jesus was crucified
• The cost of my sin – Jesus crucified.
• All the evil of the world was hung on him as He hung on the cross.
• Satan hurled all his demonic forces and wickedness against Jesus.
• Jesus absorbed all the evil.
• He carried all the evil.
• He defeated all the evil.
• Evil exhausted itself against Jesus and evil was worn out.
• Jesus tasted death for every man and
• Through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
Jesus conquered death, hell, and the grave.
Jesus, the mighty Conqueror conquered death by dying.
Jesus gave up His life. No one took life from Him. He was/is the Giver of life.
Jesus laid down His life and then would take it up again.
Before He laid down His life He said,
“Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”
“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
“It is finished”
Jesus refused the mixture of sour wine that would have deadened some of His pain
He endured the cross, despising the shame – For the joy that was set before Him!
He who was the way, the Truth, and the life – died.
But, Truth killed will rise again. And so He will – as He said.
Thursday – was a day that apparently started out quietly but toward evening the Passover preparations began.
The disciples unfortunately had an argument over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. This was so sad and insensitive given the impending events. Jesus emphasized the need for servants in the Kingdom and that those who would be great must be servants. He also emphasized love as the central facet of His Kingdom. It is by the mutual love of His followers that they would be recognized. John 13:35 immortalizes that concept.
In the upper room they gathered for the evening meal. Jesus washed their feet while they ate. He then gave the “Upper Room” discourse. He emphasized that He was about to leave His disciples. He promised the Holy Spirit of God to come to them and fill the place that He would leave. This Spirit would be the comforter, the Spirit of Truth.
“I am the vine and you are the branches” – He and His followers would be so joined together. He also emphasized that, just as the world hated Him, the world would also hate His followers also.
The account then moves from Jesus speaking to His followers to Jesus speaking to His Father. It is a moving transition – the language changes, the tone changes, eternity is now in view. He and His Father had glory and fellowship since before the world began. He had done what the Father had sent Him to do – only one thing yet remained – His death.
“This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou have sent.” “Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word is Truth.” His prayer is for all who will follow Him for all time. His prayer is for unity – “I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity…” Unity is the result of being in Christ and Christ is us. Thus we are unified in Him.
After this prayer, Jesus and His disciples went over the Kidron to the garden of Gethsemane.
Wednesday - and much of Thursday of Jesus’ last week were apparently quiet days, at least the Bible says very little about them. By Thursday evening events begin to unfold rapidly. Thursday and Friday are days of intensity and suffering. In anticipation of those days consider the words of this song -
“Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
‘Tis midnight in the garden now,
The suff’ring Savior prays alone.
‘Tis midnight, and from all removed,
The Savior wrestles lone with fears-
E’en that disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.
‘Tis midnight, and for other’s guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He that hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His God.
‘Tis midnight, and from ether-plains
Is borne the song that angels know
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior’s woe.
William Bingham Tappan