March 20, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 24:36-53

What is the major difference between Christianity and all other major religions? Our Lord still lives! In this passage we see the first time that Jesus appeared to his disciples. Imagine yourself in their shoes. They had heard of his return but this is the first time they had seen him in the flesh. How do you think you would have responded?

I believe I probably would have reacted much like the disciples did. They were startled and frightened (v.37). They doubted his return and now he was standing in front of them. He was not just a spirit but he had a new fleshly body. Jesus had completely defeated death. He even went as far as to eat a piece of the broiled fish to prove that he was whole again.

So what should we take away from this passage?

1. The motivation for our faith.

All of the pain that the disciples went through when Jesus was crucified and all of the doubt about Jesus was all wiped away. As Jesus stood in front of them they knew that he was the son of God and he did defeat sin and death. This is our motivation too. Without the resurrection the gospel is meaningless but with the resurrection the gospel means everything! Our Lord lives and gives us hope.

2. The purpose of our faith.

V.45-47, “Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” This is our mission as believers and the purpose for our faith. Our goal make God’s name great and lead others to know him through salvation.

Challenge:

Who are you sharing your faith with? I know we talk about this a lot at CPC but this is the purpose of our faith. If you answered no then who can you begin to pray for? We will make a difference for Christ in Lexington as a church when each of us makes a difference in our individual worlds.

Posted by:Chad Wiles

March 19, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 24:13-35

In 2000, one of the pastors at my home church invited me on a trip with him, along with another close friend. He was speaking at a youth camp in Oklahoma, and the church that invited him also provided the funds for him to bring some family. Due to various circumstances, his wife and kids couldn’t go, so we took their place. WIN! It was an incredible week. I still have connections from it, and many great memories of my time with all of them still fill my mind.

On the way home, we were on a packed flight. Our seats were a few rows separated. We struck up conversation with a few guys whose seats were also separated from each other. When we got off the plane, we were glad to be reunited and heading home. Something clicked, though, as we realized who those guys were. It was our moment of Christian celebrity. We were all sitting with Chris Tomlin and his band. This was unreal to me at the time, since most of my trip down, I was listening to the then brand new “One Day” album. The guys that recorded it were chatting it up with me on my flight. I was like a kid at Christmas. My pastor talked the entire way home with Chris Tomlin and didn’t realize it until I made the connection when we de-boarded.

That personal anecdote falls WAY SHORT of the stories the disciples could tell of their encounter on the road to Emmaus. They had, walking alongside them, the Risen King! But their eyes were shielded from realizing it until Jesus was ready.

Have you ever had an encounter like that? No, I don’t mean with Chris Tomlin. Have you ever been going through your day and then realized that God’s hand had been with you the whole time? That the Lord ordained your steps? That His Spirit gave you wisdom?

Imagine how the disciples must have felt when they realized it was Him. They were still living in the horrid reality of His cross. Now they could see the tangible proof of His resurrection.

What can we learn from this passage?

1) Christ is risen. Doesn’t get any more important than that, folks.

2) Jesus really did mean that He is “God with us”. For those on that ancient road, it meant Him walking among them. For us, it is the fact that His Spirit is with us everywhere we go – His Spirit whom He sent to live in us.

3) Everything in Scripture either points forward to Him (OT) or points back to Him (NT). When you read your Bible, read it through the lens of Jesus Christ. He tells us we can (v.27).

4) Pay attention. The King of Kings, risen from the dead, is with you everywhere you go today. Do you see Him?

What insights did you glean from today’s Jumpstart reading?

Posted by:Todd Thomas

March 18, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 24:1-12

At first, after reading this, I thought, “How thick could someone be?” Jesus, more than a few times, was very clear about what was going to happen. He told them He would be betrayed, mocked, beaten, and killed but would rise three days later. He was betrayed by Judas, mocked by the people, beaten, and crucified by Roman soldiers. So now three days later, as the women are going to preserve His body, they find His tomb empty. Then they are told by two angels that He is alive, just as He said. So the women go to the disciples and tell them. Their response? “The story is nonsense (verse 11)!” These are the men who, for over 3 years, had witnessed Jesus raise the dead, give sight to the blind, and perform all sorts of miracles. These are the men who had experienced Jesus walking on water, calming storms, and being transfigured right before their eyes. How could this seem like “nonsense” when they had seen and experienced all those things? Then, inevitably, the next thought for me was, “I wouldn’t have thought that.” I would have been like, “alright!”

The truth is that everyone who knows the Lord has witnessed and experienced His power and His love and yet we constantly disbelieve that He will be with us, or provide for us, or get us through hard times. Everyone who has experienced salvation and walks with Jesus knows how comforting and how joyful that relationship is and how free you feel from your sins. And yet, far too often we turn back to those same sins that enslaved us and made us feel guilty and dirty.

So today understand this: 

We need to take Jesus at His word, all the time!

In this passage, the disciples did not. They heard Him say He was coming back but they didn’t really believe it. Their actions showed that. What do your actions show? Do they show a person who trusts Jesus or one who does not?

Posted by:Robbie Byrd

March 17, 2014

Today you should read: Luke 23:26-56

Serving the Master

Today’s reading is the story of the crucifixion of Jesus.  It’s always a sobering read – that makes me overjoyed by what our Savior did for us.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21

What stood out to me this time though was the service of three men to our Lord.

Simon from Cyrene

After being beaten beyond measure Jesus could not carry the 30 lb. cross beam of the cross.  We can only imagine that the Roman guards must have beaten Jesus more – but He still couldn’t do it.  So, they found a passerby – Simon from Cyrene, and made him carry it for Jesus walking behind him.

Simon was in Libya in Northern Africa.  He was a long way from home – probably in Jerusalem to worship.  He will forever be known for his service to the Lord by carrying His cross.  Jesus told his disciples (and us to)…

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

Criminal Number Two

Jesus was crucified between two criminals.  One of them lashed out at Jesus asking Him to get them down from the cross.  The other defended Jesus saying, “we are getting what we deserve – this man is innocent.”  Then He asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His new kingdom – signifying that He believed Jesus was the Messiah.  A word of encouragement goes a long way in a tough time.  Criminal number two spoke encouragement to our Lord.

Joseph from Arimathea

Joseph – from Arimathea in Judea –  was a member of the Jewish high council that had condemned Jesus – but scripture tells us that he had not agreed with their actions.  He asked Pilate for Jesus’ body – and Pilate granted the request.  Joseph took Jesus’ body and put him in his own tomb.  Joseph cared for Jesus body in love.

Three men serving the Master.  What are you doing to serve Him?  Are you regularly giving of your time and resources to serve?  If not, what can you do to change that?

Posted by:Tim Parsons