Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 April 2021 Luke 24:5b

Luke 24:5b.     Why seek ye the living among the dead?
HAPPY  EASTER!

At last friends, that marvelous day of celebration which we’ve waited so long for, well it’s finally here! We’re talking about Resurrection Day! All praise and glory to our omnipotent and ever-LOVING God! Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has risen from the dead this Easter morn! Glory be! He has conquered the evil Satan, and taken away from him, the keys to hell, death and the grave! Christ is now Master of all He surveys! Glory Hallelujah! The seed planted in His death on Good Friday has borne fruit this Easter Sunday! 

Consequently, these words from the Simple Series musical ‘Mercy Tree,’ featured on the album inspired by the message and mission of Billy Graham’s ‘My Hope,’ are ever so appropriate for us today to hear, read, understand and digest. So please listen up. ‘We have gathered here today to lift up the name of Jesus. We rejoice in His victory over sin and the cross. Our cries of ‘Hosanna! Save us now!’ have been answered. Our Redeemer has conquered death! And because we are certain of that fact, we have reason to celebrate!’ 

Oh my people, do we ever have reason to celebrate and lift up the name of Jesus. So let’s begin doing that by singing this most celebratory and true hymn, written by one of our foremost hymnologists, Charles Wesley (1707-1788) The hymn is titled ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today.’ And it has been considered by many Christian hymnologists as being the most definitive church anthem for Easter. Each verse features a focus on the Resurrection of Jesus. Wow! 

So enough talk, let’s sing! In an up-tempo beat, with trumps and cymbals, harps and psalteries in full voice, let’s raise our sacrifices of praise in sweet harmony to high heaven, with sincere thanks and gratitude pouring out of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls! ‘Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! 

Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! LOVE’S redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia! Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia! Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! 

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia! King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasting life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, Alleluia! Thus to sing, and thus to LOVE, Alleluia!’ 

Oh friends, what awesome bliss this Easter morning has provided to us faithful believers in Christ Jesus. For as Bruh Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill: ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (his children). (Acts 17:28) And isn’t that indeed the gospel truth my fellow saints in Christ!  He is our very lifeblood, without Him, we are nothing! With Him, we are everything! We lack for nothing! 

And our celebration wouldn’t be complete without some powerful words from the Good Book. Hear Luke tell the Resurrection Story. ‘Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they (a group of women) came unto the sepulchre (tomb), bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout (about this), behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 

And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they (the men) said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.’ (Luke 24:1-11) 

Yes friends, it was difficult for Jesus followers to believe His resurrection, having seen His cruel demise three days earlier, even despite their remembering His words on the subject. They weren’t gullible religionists, but tough, skeptical, hardworking, down to earth folk, who did not find it easy to believe the rather implausible situation. But they eventually did believe when Jesus showed Himself to them, and consequently we too believe, though we haven’t seen Him in the flesh. But here is some interesting info from the scholars, re the Resurrection of Christ, that we all should certainly be aware of. 

‘The Resurrection of Christ included five accomplishments. (1) the physical renewing of His life; (2) the reunion of His body and His Spirit; (3) the subjugation of death under Him; (4) the attainment of His new position; and (5) His receiving of a transfigured body. Application: Because of the Resurrection, the Christian receives both eternal life (John 11:25) and spiritual power (Eph. 1:19-20). Christ’s resurrection also provides for the future resurrection of the believer (1 Cor. 15:20) and is the key to victory in the Christian life because of our union with Christ (Eph 2:6). (First Ref. Ps. 16:10; Primary Ref, 1 Cor. 15; cf. Acts 1:9).’ 

Oh precious people, without the resurrection of Jesus, our faith would be worthless! Let’s remember that nuh, and hold on to it with our very last breath, for it’s our golden key to heaven’s eternal sanctuary! And we’re going to end with these marvellous and ever so encouraging words from the website hymnary.org on our hymn today, and the whole resurrection business. (smile) ‘In every worship service, the words we say and the actions we participate in are somehow shaping us. 

Perhaps without even being aware of it, worship is doing something to us – it’s forming habits and language inside of us to both teach us why we are in relationship with God, and how to be in relationship with God. One practice that many liturgists and hymn authors have brought into worship is describing an event that happened in the past (usually a moment from the Gospel story) as if it were happening today, in order to instill in us the understanding that, just as God worked in the lives of people two thousand years ago, He is still working today. 

The hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is a perfect example of this. Right in the title is an indicator of the present tense: the word “is.” As we sing this song, we are first brought back two millennia as “witnesses” of the resurrection, and then we are also made aware that though the actual event of the resurrection happened once, it is in a sense an on-going event with ever-present effects. We are called today to live out of the resurrection, to follow our risen Lord in newness of life, and to ever lift our “alleluias” in praise.’ 

So mih bredrin, as we joyfully celebrate Christ’s resurrection, let’s take that wonderful advice and go out today, and every day hence, sincerely following Christ and keeping our voices lifted up to Him, in much deserved praise. That’s our bounden duty as Christians! Much LOVE!

…because He lives…we too shall live…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 March 2015 Matthew 21:10

 Matthew 21:10.    And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

PALM  SUNDAY!

Well Friends, today is Palm Sunday, the first day of one of the most important weeks in Christianity – Holy Week.  It’s the day that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ made His triumphal entry into the holy city of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. And thus it is a very important day for Christians to go to church to worship Christ and fellowship with each other.

It’s a preview of things to come. The first time, He humbly enters Jerusalem on a lowly donkey, but the next time…the next time… Oh my people, Jesus will be coming in might and majesty, as Lord of Lords and King of Kings, sitting astride a snow white charger, that’s snorting and impatiently stamping its feet, anxious to join the fray, the impending battle for world supremacy.

Ah mih breddren, this day also shows how frail and fickle and foolish humans can be, and are so easily led astray by those with the power of the mouth; the gift of the gab. Why do I say that? Because on that first Palm Sunday, the populace of Jerusalem worshipped and glorified Jesus, but a week later they were crying out to crucify Him, all because their leaders incensed them to do so, for the leader’s private purposes.  

Sadly Friends, the same thing is happening in our world today; a large amount of people are being led astray on numerous fronts by their leaders, not for the benefit of the people, but for the selfish and greedy purposes of those in power. Is this misuse and abuse of power ever going to end?

Who knows? But it will only end when we raise up righteous and godly rulers and hold them to account, instead of the parasites who now feed greedily on the fears, foibles and wealth of the people, and rob and steal with impunity.

But that’s a sermon for another day. (smile)  Today we’re featuring Palm Sunday, so let’s focus on that. And please note Friends, that his day was prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus’ time by the prophet Zechariah, when he proclaimed to Israel: ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just (righteous), and having salvation; lowly (humble), and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Zech.9:9)

And the scholars offer this information. ‘9:9-10. The ass (donkey) was an animal of peace. The kings of the earth come to bring destruction and devastation; Israel’s King comes to bring peace. The prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt.21:4-7; Mark 11:7; Luke 19:38; John 12:14-15).’ 

Yes Friends, centuries later, Jesus appeared on the scene, and on this fateful day, set His sights on Jerusalem. So let’s see what happened nuh. The gospel of Matthew tells it thus: ‘And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethpage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, go into the village over against (opposite) you, and straightway ye shall find an ass (donkey) tied, and a colt with her: loose (untie) them, and bring them unto me.

And if any man say aught (anything) unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek (humble), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt, the foal of an ass.

And the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. And brought the ass (donkey), and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from trees, and strewed (spread) them in the way (road).

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, this is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.’ (Matt.21:1-11)  

Ah Friends, what a carnival-like day, an atmosphere of celebration that must have been eh, with everybody rejoicing to see their prophet, their Messiah being kingly paraded through their streets. But as we said earlier, the euphoria didn’t last very long, for some five days later they were crying out for His head, for Him to be crucified.

Now here is some info from the scholars, re those verses. ’21:1-9. This event is traditionally known as the triumphal entry, when Jesus officially offers Himself to the nation of Israel as her long-awaited Messiah. However, in many ways it was far from a triumph, for the day ended in Jesus’ public prediction of His rejection by His own people. (See Mark 1:1-10; Luke 19:29-39; John 12:12-15).

Bethpage was a village near Bethany, about a mile east of Jerusalem and apparently hidden from it by the summit of the Mount of Olives, which was the hill on the east of Jerusalem. The quotation in verse 5 is a combination of Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9, taken substantially from the Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament.

Hosanna is the transliteration of a Hebrew term meaning “please save,” and occurs in 2 Samuel 14:4 and Psalm 118:25. From the following verse of this psalm the acclamation Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord is taken. Riding on the colt of an ass marked the official entry of Israel’s kings. Thus Jesus arrives in the full declaration of His kingship.’

There we have it my brethren; lots of info on the Palm Sunday scene, so please let’s ponder and study it and thus increase our knowledge of Jesus and His Word, and consequently also increase our faith and belief in Him, for He is truly the ONLY WAY through which salvation can be had.

So let’s be wise and embrace Him and all that He stands for RIGHT NOW, for tomorrow might just be too late. Much LOVE!

…the zenith of wisdom is… surrendering one’s self to Jesus Christ…accepting Him as your Lord and Saviour…your ticket to eternal life…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 April 2014 Luke 24:5b

Luke 24:5b.  Why seek ye the living among the dead?

Oh Friends, it’s Easter Sunday morning! What a day it’s going to be, for Christ is risen! Yes indeed, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is risen from the grave, from the depths of Hades! He’s broken the bonds of death and the grave and set us free to live eternally with Him in victory!
 
And all God’s people declared a loud and proud: ‘Glory Hallelujah! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! What a wonderful Saviour! Give Him abundant praise and thanks this Easter Sunday morning!’
 
Ah mih people, Easter Sunday two thousand years ago was one of the most, if not the most significant day in man’s history. Just imagine the women going to the tomb early in the morning with spices to anoint Jesus’ body, wondering how they would move away the stone from the tomb’s door.
 
Then, lo and behold, when they got there, ‘…they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.’ (Luke 24:2-3)
 
Can you imagine their astonishment? First no stone in front of the tomb door, then no body of Jesus! Mama Mia! I’m sure they must have been real flustered, their simple minds thinking all sorts of crazy thoughts.
 
Then to make matters even worse, ‘…it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout (about this), behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:’ (Luke 24:4)
 
Wow! That must have really had them jumping out of their skins! ‘And as they were afraid, and bowed their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  
 
It certainly was an eventful day for those poor women; not finding Jesus’ body, but instead two angels, who questioned them in the words of our Bit, then further went on to inform them. ‘He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
 
And they remembered his words. And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things to the apostles.’ (Luke 24:6-10)
 
Oh Friends, can you imagine the fear, consternation, doubt and scepticism that fateful morning! And what would have been your reaction to the women’s story eh? Fear, scepticism, anger, disbelief, belief?
 
Luke tells us thus: ‘And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.’ (Luke 24:11)
 
I guess that would have been the reaction of most of us under the then prevailing circumstances. However, John tells us that despite their doubt and disbelief, he and Peter ran towards the sepulchre.
 
‘So they ran both together: and the other disciple (whom Jesus LOVED) did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
 
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie. And the napkin (face cloth) that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped (folded) together in a place by itself.
 
Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and he believed. For as yet they knew not (understood) the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.’ (John 20:4-10) 
 
As they say Friends- seeing is believing, but touching is the naked truth.’ Peter and John saw and believed.
 
Per the scholars: ‘His clothes lay in an orderly fashion. Had His body been stolen, the grave clothes would not have been left. They believed that Jesus was alive, not yet knowing the details of His resurrection.’
 
And John continues: ‘But Mary (Magdalene) stood without (outside) the sepulchre weeping: (her second visit) and as he wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
 
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back (around), and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
 
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence (carried him away), tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
 
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say Master (Teacher). 
 

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not (do not cling to me): for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.’ (John 20:11-18) 
 
Oh mih people, can you imagine Mary’s feelings when she realized that she was talking to Jesus, in living colour? And did the disciples truly believe after Mary told them that she had seen Jesus? Who knows my people?
 
There are many unanswered questions, but the most important fact has been ascertained: Jesus rose from the dead, and thus we have been set free from the bonds of sin and death! Glory Hallelujah! 
 
And we’ll end by outlining some facts, per the scholars, on Christ’s Resurrection. ‘The resurrection of Christ included five accomplishments: (1) the physical renewing of His life; (2) the reunion of His body and His spirit; (3) the subjugation of death under Him; (4) the attainment of His new position; and (5) His receiving of a transfigured body.
 
Application: Because of the Resurrection, the Christian receives both eternal life (John 11:25) and spiritual power (Eph.1:19-20). Christ’s resurrection also provides for the future resurrection of the believer (1 Cor.15:20) and is the key to victory in the Christian life because of our union with Christ (Eph.2:6) (First Ref. Ps.16:10; Primary Ref. 1 Cor.15; cf. Acts 1:9).’
 
Oh Friends, we could not ask for a greater gift in this sinful life and world, so please let’s take it all seriously and try our best to live and LOVE the way Jesus desires of us. Let’s not make His sacrifices a waste of time and effort.  It’s the best way to show our seriousness and faithfulness and LOVE!
 
Please have a joyful and glorious Easter Sunday… and don’t overdo the celebrations. Remember Granny’s advice – drunk or sober mind your business (smile) Much much LOVE my fellow believers on this glorious Easter Sunday!
 
…He is risen…Christ is risen…let the world know and rejoice…that Christ is risen…