The Resurrection Message Will Overcome (Matthew 28:11-15)

Matthew 28:11-15

People today no longer look for an alternative historical narrative for the empty tomb of Jesus of Nazareth to try to disprove it. Back then a historical event demanded an explanation.

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The Lord’s Supper is a foretaste of a sweeter meal to come (Matthew 26:26-29

Matthew 26:26-29

Knowing the time of his betrayal and death drew near, what did Jesus do? He sat down to have one last meal with his disciples, a Passover meal.

The symbols Jesus used at that meal were common to Passover. This Passover bread was called the Bread of Affliction. Unleavened bread represented the affliction Israel endured as slaves in Egypt and their haste in leaving. Jesus gives this bread a new level of meaning. He would soon be severely afflicted by the breaking of his body to deliver his people from the greater slavery of sin (Matthew 26:26; Romans 8:2).

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We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

Ecclesiastes 12:14

God will judge every deed. We must all – me, you, every person who ever lived – appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive the due for what we have done while living on this earth, whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10).

In the blink of an eye, all our deeds will be laid bare naked before us, even the evil we did not know we were doing. Whether you are the Ukrainian President Zelensky trying to fight for the survival of your country or the Russian President Putin trying to usurp another country’s sovereignty, we will all be appalled when the lid is ripped open and our deeds and motivations exposed for what they really were. At that moment the only words we will be able to utter will be: “I am not worthy, Lord, send me into the abyss. I am unworthy to enter the gates of your glorious kingdom, for I am a sinful man (I am a sinful woman) and the only thing I deserve is to be dammed forever.”

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The fear of God leads to joyful obedience (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Ecclesiastes 12:13

The Book of Ecclesiastes takes the reader for a ride. You might find yourself lost in all the loops. For this reason, the divinely inspired editor gives a summary statement at the end: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of humanity (Ecclesiastes 12:13).”

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Cherish the givenness of things (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

The anthropologist Ernest Becker wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Denial of Death,” “The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is the mainspring of human activity – activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying…that it is the final destiny.”

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A universe with God vs. one without (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11)

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” With these words the Preacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes begins his journey of exploring all that is done under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 13).

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Why we need to talk about the demonic (Ephesians 6:12)

Ephesians 6:12

I want to take a moment to talk about the demonic. That may not be a popular thing to do nowadays. Please do not think I lost it. In our day people feels uncomfortable talking about this, but we need to.

C.S. Lewis said in his preface to The Screwtape Letters: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

We need to have a balanced, healthy appreciation for the demonic. Let me offer a few reasons why I think this.

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With Jesus in the boat, even life’s storms drive us to deeper faith in him (Matthew 8:23-27)

Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus’ disciples heeded his call to go with him to the other side of the sea. They went with him to a place they did not want to go, a land of gentiles. This trip required a great sacrifice of both time and energy. Still, they heeded the call and went. Yet, instead of finding reward, they encountered hardship.

A great storm arose on the water that day, filling the ship with water that threatened to capsize their ship and take their lives. They put all their hopes in this man, and now they feared their hopes would be dashed to pieces with their ship and them in it.

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To be a disciple requires trusting Jesus more than your own abilities (Matthew 8:19-20)

Matthew 8:19-20

Scribes, in antiquity, functioned as the human copy machines of the ancient world. They copied manuscripts for distribution and posterity. By the time of Jesus, the function of the scribe had developed into a social institution. They no longer just copied manuscripts, they also lectured, taught, and consulted on aspects of Jewish law. They lived relatively comfortable lives in one of the upper echelons of Jewish society.

One of these scribes jumped at Jesus’ command to go with him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He said, “I will follow you wherever you go, teacher (Matthew 8:19).”

This scribe probably thought he was giving Jesus a compliment. As accomplished as this man had become, he told Jesus he was willing to lay all aside to follow him. We can only imagine his surprise, when Jesus responded not with gratitude but a hard line.

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Jesus’ command elicits a crisis of faith (Matthew 8:18)

Matthew 8:18

Jesus commanded them “to go over to the other side (Matthew 8:18).” This command elicited a crisis of faith for many of those who started following him. Crossing the Sea of Galilee required a multi-day trip on the sea. Whatever plans they may have made for the next few days would need to be set aside. Whatever responsibilities they had they would need to make other arrangements for. Furthermore, the territory to which they were going was primarily Gentile territory, a loose confederation of Hellenistic city-states that few Jews would travel to. Jesus’ command created a crisis of for many who gathered around him that day.

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