Thomas

 

Thomas, one of the twelve chosen witnesses, was not there when Jesus came (242). When he joined them later the other witnesses told him, “We have seen Jesus!”

Thomas said to them, “Unless I touch the scars on his hands & the wound in his side, I cannot believe that!”

A week later the witnesses were together again behind locked doors; this time Thomas was with them. Again, Jesus appeared suddenly among them & said, “Be filled with peace.”

Jesus turned to Thomas & said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then put your hand in my side. Stop doubting & believe.” Then Thomas did believe & exclaimed, “My Master & my God!”

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Jesus replied with this promise: “Do you believe because you see me? Many people will believe without seeing me & they will be blessed by God for their faith.”

John the Witness wrote down many accounts of events in the life & ministry of Jesus.  He wanted his readers to believe that Jesus is the Messiah of God.  He wanted you to have new life by believing in Jesus.

At the end of his account of the life & ministry of Jesus, John also testified that Jesus did many other miracles which were not written down.

LORD, thank You for sending Jesus to give us new life.

(242) John 20:24-31

Living Ambassadors

 

After he had eaten the fish, Jesus began to teach his friends (241).  “All these things that have happened are the very things I told you about before I was executed.  Everything inspired by God to be written about me — in the law of Moses, the writings of the prophets & the psalms — had to be fulfilled.”

Jesus went on to open their minds to understand the inspired scriptures, saying, “This is what is written: the Messiah must suffer & must rise from death three days later.”

Then Jesus told them, “As my living ambassadors, you must preach the message of repentance & forgiveness of sins to all nations, beginning here in Jerusalem. You are my chosen witnesses.

“I will send you the power promised by God so you can do this.  Wait here in Jerusalem until God’s power comes upon you.”

Holy Spirit

Finally, Jesus said to them again, “Be filled with peace.  As God sent me, so now I am sending you.”

Then Jesus breathed new life into them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Let him fill your heart & take charge of your lives!

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“Tell people everywhere that God will forgive their sins against him!  And warn them of the danger of rejecting God’s forgiveness.”

Jesus, please help us to love being Your living ambassadors.

(241) Luke 24:44-49, John 20:21-23

Alarming Reunion

 

After Jesus had left them, the two friends began speaking excitedly to one another (240). “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in our hearts when he talked with us on the road & explained to us the inspired scriptures?”

They got up at once and hurried back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven chosen witnesses gathered together with other friends of Jesus.  Before they could say a word, the witnesses told them, “Jesus is risen indeed! Peter & John have seen the empty tomb!”

Then they told the witnesses what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how they had recognized Jesus when he broke the bread.

While the two were telling their story, suddenly Jesus stood among them all!  He said simply, “Be filled with peace.”  But his friends were anything but peaceful, thinking they were seeing a ghost!

jesus appears

Jesus said to them, “Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts arising in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet; it’s really me. Feel my body, and you will know.  A ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones like me!”

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He showed them his hands and his feet, but they still couldn’t believe their eyes; they were amazed!

So Jesus asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of cooked fish, which he then took & ate before their eyes.

At last, his friends began to calm down . . .

Jesus, please help us to love being amazed by You.

(240) Mark 16:13, Luke 24:32-43, John 20:19-20

The Way: Living With God

 

Jesus challenged his friends to embrace living with God (219).

“Up till now, I have often used figures of speech to tell you things about God. But the time has come for me to speak to you plainly about God.  It’s time for you to go on living with God.   It’s time for each of you to have your own very direct & very personal relationship with God.  God loves each one of you very much.

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“God loves you  — because you love me & because you have believed that I came from God. I did come from God into the world, and now it’s time for me to leave the world & return to God.”

His friends replied to Jesus, “But now you are speaking plainly, without using figures of speech; now we understand you.  We really do believe that you came from God.”

Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Remember, the time has come for all of you to be scattered, and for me to be left alone. But I’m never really alone, because God is always with me.

“I have been telling you all these things so that, whenever you feel all alone, you can have the same powerful peace that God gives to me.  God will always be with you, too.

“In the tribulation of this world, you will experience suffering.

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“But you can be peaceful through it all, knowing that I have overcome the world.”

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God, please help us to love living all of life with You.

(219) John 16:25-33

The Way: Powerful Peace

 

Then Judas (also known as Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus) asked Jesus a question (213). “Master, why will you reveal yourself to us & not to the world?”

Jesus continued: “Whoever loves me will do what I have taught. God will also love that person, and we will come to live with him.   Anyone who does not do what I have taught does not love me.  What I have taught has come directly from God.

“After I’ve gone, God’s Holy Spirit will teach you everything you need to know.  The Spirit will also help you remember everything I have taught you.

“I am giving you peace – not peace as the world understands it, but the peace of God.  This peace is so powerful that you won’t be worried & you won’t be afraid.  You will be bold!

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“Listen, you should be glad that I am returning to God, because there is nothing greater than being with God.  I’ve told you all this now, before it happens, so that, when it actually does happen, your faith will grow stronger.

“But, we can’t talk much longer now; the powers of this world are coming for me.  Although they have no power over me, God’s plan of redemption requires my submission to them at this time.  From my example of submission, you will understand that the way to show love for God is to do everything that God commands.”

Jesus concluded, “Come, let us leave this place.”  Then, after singing a song praising God, they left the upper room & went out to the gardens on the Mount of Olives.

jesus-and-followers-in-the-mount-of-olives

Jesus, please help us to love the peace that only You can give.

(213) Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, John 14:22-31

The Cost Of Following Jesus

 

Once, when large crowds of people were following Jesus, he challenged them (159): “Whoever loves family members more than me,  does not really follow me. And whoever is not willing to be put to death for following me, does not really follow me.”

Then Jesus used a couple of examples to help people consider carefully the real cost of following him.  “If you plan to construct any kind of building, you normally figure out the cost beforehand, to make sure you’ll have enough money to finish the building. Otherwise, you may get the foundation laid, but be unable to finish the job.  Then people won’t think you’re much of a builder.

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“Or look at it this way.  When a king, with an army of 10,000 soldiers, is facing another king, with an army of 20,000 soldiers, he normally considers his battle plan very carefully, to make sure his forces are strong enough to win. If he cannot assure himself of victory, he’ll send messengers to ask for terms of peace, rather than sending his troops to certain defeat.”

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Jesus concluded, “In the same way, you need to consider carefully the cost of following me.  Following me will require you to give up everything else in this life. Otherwise, your service for others in my name will be as worthless as salt that has lost its flavor.

“Listen to what God is saying to you!”

Jesus, please help us to love following You more than everything.

(159) Luke 14:25-35

Learn To Discern

 

Jesus concluded by emphasizing the importance of seeing people from God’s perspective (151):

Don’t think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I came to bring the fire of division to the world. Your testimonies about me will set family members against one another; sometimes, your worst enemies will be the members of your own family.

9.2-Testify-about-Jesus

When you see clouds in the west, you say it’s going to rain — and it does. When you feel the south wind blowing, you say it’s going to be hot — and it is. You can discern variations in the weather.

Now you must learn to discern the signs of the times from God’s perspective.

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Then you’ll be able to judge for yourselves the right thing to do.

For example, if someone brings a lawsuit against you and takes you to court, settle the dispute with him before you even get to court.  Make that a priority before God.

LORD, please help us to love seeing things from Your point of view.

(151) Luke 12:49-59