Inspiration and Encouragement – March 2021
Matthew 28:5-8 (5) “And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. (6) He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (7) And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. (8) And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.”
A Merry Heart
A Sunday school teacher was asking her six-year-olds about the meaning of Easter. “Children,” she said, “Do you know why we celebrate Easter?”
A little girl raised her hand.
“Yes Jenny,” said the teacher.
Jenny said, “Is Easter when we put on costumes and go trick-or-treating?”
“No, Jenny. That’s Halloween. Does anyone else know?”
A little boy yelled, “It’s when we set off fireworks!”
“No Jimmy, that’s Independence Day. Anybody else?”
A shy little girl in the back said, “Easter is when Jesus died.”
The teacher replied, “That’s right, Shauna. And what happened to Jesus that makes Easter special?”
“Well, he died and got buried. And every Easter he comes out. And if he sees his shadow there’s 6 more weeks of winter.”
“The resurrection of Christ is one of the foundation-stones of Christianity. It was the seal of the great work that He came on earth to do. It was the crowning proof that the ransom He paid for sinners was accepted, the atonement for sin accomplished, the head of him who had the power of death bruised, and the victory won.” (J.C. Ryle)
“The resurrection is a fact better attested than any event recorded in any history, whether ancient or modern.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Resurrection and Passover
Introduction: This would have been the Month of Nisan which is the end of March and the beginning of April. There were three feasts that occurred back to back in the Jewish calendar. They were the Passover, Feast of unleavened bread and the Feast of the first fruits. These events are a perfect parallel of what happened to Jesus from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
Text: Exodus 12:1-2 (1) “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, (2) This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.”
The selection: Every family was to take a lamb for the Passover. Exodus 12:3 “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:”
The specifics: This is something that every family had to do and if need be they could share a lamb with another family. Exodus 12:4 “And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.”
The significance: The lamb had to be without spot which would represent the messiah that would come one day. Exodus 12:5 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats.”
The sign: The children of Israel were to apply the blood of the lamb on the outside of the door. Exodus 12:7 “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” When God saw the blood of the lamb applied by faith, he would spare the firstborn from death. Exodus 12:13 “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” When they applied the blood, it made a sign of the cross. Exodus 12:22 “And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.”
The signature: Each family would put its name on the neck of the lamb. That clearly tells who the lamb was sacrificed for and so they could get it back for the Passover meal. Jesus name was on the cross and he died for the whole world. The priest when he could cut throat of the lamb would say it is finished which is exactly what Jesus said when he died on the cross.
The Parallels (In the Old and New Testament)
The calendar of events: When we look at what happened during the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread and the feast of first fruits we see how they perfectly line up with the last week of Jesus earthly ministry.
10th – The lamb was selected. Exodus 12:3 “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:” This fell on Palm Sunday the day God selected his lamb for the sacrifice of the whole world. Matthew 21:8-9 (8) “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. (9) 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.” They would have 4 days to inspect the lamb to make sure it was without blemish. Jesus was also examined during this period.
13th – After sundown Jesus would have eaten the last supper with his disciples. Jesus also was illegally tried at night by the Sanhedrin as well during this time.
14th – The lamb was slain on 14th. Exodus 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. Leviticus 23:5 “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover.” The sacrifice had to be slain on this day and done before the next day which would be a Passover. Mt 27:57-60 (57) “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: (58) He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. (59) And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, (60) And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.”
15th – The first day of the feast of unleavened bread is a Passover no matter what day it falls on. Leviticus 23:6-7 (6) “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” (7) In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.”
16th – This was the day of the regular Sabbath which was Saturday.
17th – This was the Feast of first fruits which was on a Sunday. The day Jesus arose from the dead. Jesus became the first fruits from the dead by being the first resurrected person to have a glorified body.
The consistency of the events: These events were to teach Israel about the coming messiah. They had a significant purpose in God’s plan and he never does anything by accident or chance, but for our instruction. Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
The city of the events: The Passover was to be celebrated in Jerusalem and that is why people would travel from great distance for this event. Deuteronomy 16:5-6 (5) “Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: (6) But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”
The Proof (The Undisturbed Grave Clothes)
There was diligent preparation: Joseph prepared Jesus body for burial and gave great attention to detail. John 19:38-39 (38) “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. (39) And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.” Consider the ingredients that were used and the significance that they had. Myrrh would have the same effect as shellac. Using 100 pounds of it would harden and keep the bandages in place like a mummy. Aloes is like powder.
There was divine proof: Peter and John had heard that Jesus was raised from the dead. They both ran to the tomb to investigate. John outran Peter and got their first. When John saw the undisturbed grave clothes and that Jesus was gone he knew that he was risen from the dead and he believed. John 20:7-8 (7) “And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. (8) Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.” The grave clothes were the perfect shape of Jesus body.
The Power (What it does in my life)
The cleansing power: It is by putting our faith in what Jesus did for us that we have forgiveness of sins. He died for us, was buried and rose again from the dead. Ephesian 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
The closeness of his presence: It by the power of God from his resurrection that I may know him in an intimate way. Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” If we are not walking with God we are not utilizing his power in our life. This is the greatest untapped resource in the world that no believer should neglect.
The clarity of our preaching: We are to preach the gospel to every person and we cannot do that without speaking of the resurrection. Acts 17:3 “Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.” Without the power of God we have no message or ministry.
By: Kurt John LaCapruccia
More than Conquerors
He Fully Understood
Little Philip, born with Down’s syndrome, attended a third-grade Sunday School class with several eight-year-old boys and girls. Typical of that age, the children did not readily accept Philip with his differences. But because of a creative teacher, they began to care about Philip and accept him as part of the group, though not fully. The Sunday after Easter the teacher brought plastic eggs for each member of his class. He asked them to find some symbol for new life, and put it in the plastic egg and then go back to the classroom
Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open them one by one. After each one was taken out, whether a flower, butterfly, or leaf, the class would get excited about it. Then one was opened, revealing nothing inside. The children exclaimed that was stupid. That’s not fair. Somebody didn’t do their assignment.”
Philip spoke up, “That’s mine.” “Philip, you don’t ever do things right!” the student retorted. “There’s nothing there!” “I did so do it,” Philip insisted. “I did do it. It’s empty. The tomb was empty!” Silence followed. From then on Philip became a full member of the class. He died not long afterward from an infection. At the funeral this class of eight-year-olds marched up to the altar not with flowers, but with their Sunday school teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose egg. Philip fully understood the meaning of the resurrection and put his faith in the risen savior. When we put our faith in Jesus, he will cleanse us from all our sin and give us a home in heaven when we die. Simple faith has a profound impact. Philip touched people around him very profoundly because of his genuine faith and by the grace of God may we do the same. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Trust him today