Believe, Receive, and Go-Apr. 7, 2013

Believe, Receive, and Go

Scripture:  John 20:19-31

What happens after the resurrection and the days following the resurrection will change the world forever.  These early disciples have gone from seeing the teacher, master, and Lord crucified, dead, buried, and now resurrected.  He Is Alive!  What victory, what comfort, what joy to know that Jesus is alive.  God’s plan was to use those disciples to share His life-giving gospel to the world and in doing so the first church is birthed into existence.  Jesus is still in the business of calling, equipping, and sending believers.  He is calling each and every believer to live into His resurrection power.  After receiving that power and calling to go and live out and share that life-giving gospel is what you are on earth to do.  We join those who have been called, equipped, and sent each generation since Resurrection Day.  If you are His, then this is what you are here on earth to do.

The evening of Resurrection Day the disciples were together with doors locked because the feared the Jews.  The Jews had just found a way to have their leader Jesus crucified but could it possibly be that He is alive.  Some in their group have seen some things that are making them begin believe that maybe Jesus is alive.  Then Jesus appears among them pronounces peace and gives them proof that it is really Him.  He shows them His hands and His side.  They were obviously overjoyed.  The excitement that Jesus is alive and among them is unlike any joy they could possibly know.

Jesus today is alive and well and is with us today.  His presence brings peace to any situation.  Do you need His peace today in your life?  Jesus presence brings peace.  Then He breathed on the disciples and said for them to “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  It is in receiving the Holy Spirit that Jesus begins to call them out and to give them purpose, power, and direction.  Telling them they have the power in His name to forgive sins, and if they don’t forgive sins then they are not forgiven.  Remember that Jesus had forgiven the sins of the man lowered in on a mat and what He needed was healing.  The Pharisees were very upset and accused Him of blasphemy.  He told those gathered around that He did so to demonstrate that the Son of Man has authority on earth forgive sins.  Jesus is now giving the disciples the authority to do so as well.

How do you think you would feel if you were given the power and authority by Jesus to forgive sins?  Would you take your faith more seriously?  Would you spend more time in prayer and studying God’s word?  In another way if we do not share the gospel with others both in the way we live and in using our words then world may not know that Jesus died for them to have forgiveness of sins.  Also in not sharing the gospel we are disobeying Jesus’ command to do so and if we are Christians denying that resurrection power to a world that so desperately needs it.  Let me ask you a pointed question?  Many of you have perhaps through the years brought someone to church and perhaps they have received the gospel message and come to saving knowledge in Christ.  So the pointed question is, when was the last time you personally lead someone to saving knowledge of Christ?  There is no feeling any better in the world for you or that other person to know that they have come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.  We may not share out of fear or not felling prepared.  God has called us if we are His to take the message of the Living Word, His Son to the world.  The Living Word needs to be shared with words but the words will have no weight if our lives are hollow and empty, not filled with the fullness of Christ.

The first thing that must be settled is do we really believe in the resurrection?  Do we believe He is who He says He is?  For someone to share the gospel boldly and confidently they must believe that it is true and it is the power for life and eternal life.  If a person doesn’t have that type of belief weighing out the risk, they will almost always never try to share the gospel.  Thomas had His doubts, Jesus gave Him the proof He needed to believe.  These early disciples had to be certain, because to share could and would cost them their lives.  What power could have turned these men huddled together into this room into bold champions that changed the world?  The only answer is that they truly believed He was raised from the dead and the put their lives on the line to share this truth.

When Jesus appears before Thomas He allows Thomas to touch His wounds.  Then Jesus tells Thomas to stop doubting and believe.  The moment Thomas is truly convinced he acknowledges that Jesus is his Lord and God.  To see Jesus for who He really is, is to see Him as our Lord and God.  Can you truly say today that Jesus is, my Lord and my God?  If not today you can truly believe in that resurrection power to change your life and the world.  Jesus then speaks of the blessedness of faith.  Thomas believed because He had visual proof, by Jesus said blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.  It is by faith and not by sight.

Jesus appeared in a locked room to proclaim peace to His frightened disciples, and would do many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples.  He showed up to bring peace, offer proof of His resurrection, give the Holy Spirit, and to call them into action.  This call to action is so that others may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him that they may have life in His name.

Those that believe have received both the power of salvation through His resurrection, and a call upon their lives to share the gospel with the world.  Secondarily they received the Holy Spirit to guide them and to give them strength and discernment for the journey ahead.  We are then given God’s plan for His followers that they take this message of hope and salvation to the world.  We must first believe on faith, receive grace, forgiveness and power through the Holy Spirit, and be willing to step out in bold faith in the name of Jesus Christ that the world may know He is alive and have life in His name.

Believe, Receive, and Go…have we been faithful to all three?

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Building a Healthy Church: Starts with a Good Foundation-Apr. 3, 2013

Building a Healthy Church:  Starts with a Good Foundation

Ephesians 4:11-13

Diversity in unity is bringing many gifts with different functions to accomplish the work of the church.  A healthy church seeks to be growing toward maturity in Christ.  Perhaps the most significant words in this passage may be built up.  A church may be born in simple faith but it does not become the full power of Christ until it is built up.

Although salvation is God’s work alone, the work of the church is God calling and commanding His people to grow in maturity, to be built up for the edification of the body and the glory of God alive in the world today.  There is always an inward and outward component to the church and there should be balance.  At times balance is a struggle with tension.  Tension is not always bad like a tug-o-war or someone hauling a trailer, tension can be healthy and keep the bond from snapping.  Healthy confrontation can also bring balance.  The word confront doesn’t have to have negative connotation.  It literally means to come face to face with one another.

To build a structure to last it must have a solid foundation.  In the parable of the wise and foolish builders one built his house on solid rock and while the other built their house on the sand.  When the wind and waves came only one house survived.  Beware if the house is built too quickly and without a sure foundation it will eventually fall most likely sooner than later.

What then is the foundation of a church?  Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone, the sure foundation, the capstone, our Lord and Savior.  There is no church that can call itself a Christian church that can have a foundation other than Jesus Christ.  Jesus at one point asks His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  Jesus shares that God has revealed this to Peter, and upon that foundation God will build His church.

Even when the foundation is right and settled doesn’t mean that there is not a lot of work to build up even walls of worship, fellowship, discipleship, evangelism, ministry, and mission. There are may be other categories or ideas that fall under these categories, but these are the essential building blocks of a church.  Not brick and mortar, but life, worship, fellowship, discipleship, evangelism, ministry, and mission, these things are not necessarily physical.  As the Roman Emperors found out you can destroy building but a strong, living, vibrant faith is almost impossible to kill.  However, it can and often does self-destruct.

A pyramid illustration may best explain the relational component of this building up, connected, relational, healthy church.  It has been said that a person can only have about 8-16 vital relationships for a prolonged period of time.  There may be seasons of greater connectivity but these also change as well.  A good thought to this is the closeness of a family.  They are limited in number but are vitally connected.  Jesus Himself chose twelve to pour His life into.

Jesus pours His life and teachings into these twelve and then they are to go into the world.  This isn’t growing the kingdom through adding but rather through multiplying exponentially.  Notice as well that as the lines get closer to Jesus they also get closer together.  As we each look to Him as our source will be drawn closer to one another.

To become a healthy church we must begin to strengthen our foundation and in doing so we will be drawn closer together in Christ.  Then trusting that Christ is foundational for all that we do, we are able to live out our callings using our gifts for the edification of the body and the glory of God in the community around us and the world beyond us.

Jesus Comes…Triumph or Tragedy?-March 24, 2013

Jesus Comes…Triumph or Tragedy?-March 24, 2013

Scripture:  Luke 19:28-44

We have the advantage of looking back on the events of the entry or journey towards Jerusalem.  We have the advantage of encountering this event in context with other events to come later that week.  We know that shortly after these times of celebration that Jesus will die.  His death will be met with sadness and disappointment, and then a cautious sense of hope and victory as the word they had been hearing was true, Jesus was alive and before them.  It was for them and for us the powerful reality that our living Savior is alive and He is in the business of changing lives.

Has the power of God through Jesus Christ diminished through the years?  Has the definition of what it means to be a follower of Christ changed over the years?  It could be that in more recent times there is less commitment, allegiance, and sacrifice making the gospel of Christ a “feel good cotton candy” type gospel that tastes good but provides for no lasting nourishment or power.  The disciples of Christ should have known what was coming, Jesus told them several times and yet mere days before the sacrifice of Christ the celebrate.

Jesus gives two of the disciples a task, go into the village and they will find a colt which no one has ever ridden on.  Jesus asks them to bring the colt He also anticipates the objections that they may have and tells them how to answer if they are questioned.  This may also hint at a prearrangement, but not the way you might think.  The prophet Zechariah foretold that the king would come riding on a colt.  It was a prearranged by God and if you begin to think of the faithful people who would have anticipated the coming of a king and then Jesus sends the disciples to get this colt.  In the time that it would take for the disciples to get back to Jesus and then return to the city the word has begun to spread.  The prophecy is fulfilled and the king he is coming.  No more occupation, no more Roman rule, the king, the anointed one the Messiah, He is coming, or better yet He is Here!!  Hosanna, glory to God in the highest.

The early believers thought a revolution was on the way, and that they would be restored here on earth.  They think like many today of earthly salvation.  An earthly salvation that included a life with no pain, hurt, or that their families would be blessed and their fortunes expanded.  The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the line of David were an occupied people year after year.  Centuries pass and the people grow weary their eyes are tired from searching for a Messiah.

During his reign, Cyrus King of Persia could have been one who did some things like a Messiah in allowing the people to return to their homeland and begin to rebuild their life, faith, and identity.  However, only one from within could bring the lasting peace that they were looking for.  Only one from God could fully restore and bring the peace that was long-awaited and hoped for.  It this is really “the one” we must go and see.  What a great gift to have salvation and redemption fulfilled in our lifetime.  How blessed?  How wonderful!  The people bring to Jesus their praises and also the collective hope of generations gone by that their king, their Messiah could really be here.  The people begin to come and see what is going on.

In Jesus’ coming to the city He is putting Himself on a collision corse with the very ones wanting to kill Him, the Jewish Pharisees, and the ones that have the power to kill Him, the Romans.  The people believe He will use His power and authority to physically free them as a people.  He has after all come back to their city and to the place of the temple.

In drawing closer to the city some of the Pharisees tell Jesus to rebuke His disciples for giving Him praise.  Jesus speeds up the collision with His answer by saying, “even if they keep quiet the rocks will then cry out with praise”.  You might be able to threaten or kill a man to silence him, but you cannot kill a rock.  Then Jesus stops to weep over the city and its lack of understanding of who Jesus was and the peace He sought to bring and because that peace was rejected the people will have to live with the coming violence that will soon befall them.

Jesus Himself in a few short days would have the violence of our sins bought to bear on His body.  He would know that violence in the last of His earthly days.  The prince of peace was dying that His peace would be available to us all.  The greatest gift is still here each day, and most would rather choose their way, or the world’s way, than the Way.  Do we recognize the Prince of Peace in our world of violence?  If we are not able to see we will continue to live in and through violence.  Christ is waiting to offer you peace will you come today?

Jesus Lives…Death is Dead-Mar. 31, 2013

Video-Arise My Love by Newsong and replacing the black sash with the white sash

Song-Christ the Lord is Risen Today-Congregational

Song-Low in the Grave He Lay-Congregational

Message:  Jesus Lives…Death is Dead!  Luke 23:54-24:12; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

It was preparation day.  Everyday should be a day of preparation to meet and encounter Jesus.  But also it was preparation day because the Sabbath was about to begin.  The Sabbath, the day of rest, a day when no work was to be done so preparations would need to be made to avoid working on the Sabbath.  How many of us prepare to ensure that we can rest.

The women that had come with Jesus from Galilee, they had been with Him for a very long time, and they knew Jesus and His teachings very well.  It is also evident that they followed Him to the end, and in many ways were more faithful than the twelve.  They followed Jesus’ body and Joseph of Arimethia down to the place of the tomb.  They saw the tomb and even how Jesus’ body was laid.  This is important because some people would be confused as the women begin to share the good news.  Some think the women are mistaken, maybe they were confused or went to the wrong tomb.  But they were there, these women went with Joseph and saw the tomb and saw how His body was positioned in the tomb.  They had first-hand knowledge because they were there as they had been since near the beginning.

The women went home and made preparations of spices prepared for Jesus’ completed burial.  They prepared because He was dead, they knew He was dead not just fainting, swooned, or in a deep sleep.  You don’t prepare a body that is alive.  They rested, they wait, and then they went.    On the first day they went, very early, with their preparations.  Why go so early?  Perhaps it is early because the sun is not up yet and the heat of the day may cause the body to decompose faster and or perhaps worse the potential smell the extra day delayed the process of preparations making things a little more difficult to prepare His body.

When they arrived they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  Imagine the shock, your leader, master, teacher, and Lord was betrayed, denied, falsely accused, wrongly punished, unjustifiably put to death, and now…now His tomb has been opened maybe someone tried to harm His poor dead body, now they begin to have a sinking feeling as the body of Jesus is no longer there.  What could have happened?  Could or would someone have really stolen His body?  Can’t they just leave Jesus alone, is not any rest for Jesus even in His death?

They are confused their minds are swirling about what is going on.  Even as they are still confused two men in bright, clothes like lightning appear suddenly.  The women are afraid and fall down on their faces before these men.  But the men ask a question that is quite revealing, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”  The men remind the women what Jesus has shared with them about His death since Galilee.  Since the beginning Jesus had told them about His death and resurrection.  They remembered His words and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.  The men in general did not believe the women and thought they sounded like nonsense.  But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; seeing only the linen wrappings with the seeds of hope and belief are beginning to bud.

If we only have hope in Christ for this life then we are to be pitied.  Christ is alive, and because He is alive we have victory and life in His name.  Then scripture says He put all enemies under His feet, including the last and greatest enemy death.  Death is dead and we have life both here and in eternity.  Death has no claim upon the followers of Christ.  There is still death but there is no sting, but hope for eternity.

Video-Alive by Natalie Grant-Matthew 28:5-7

Song-Because He Lives-Congregational

Service of Darkness-Mar. 27, 2013

Services of Darkness-The Last Hours of Christ’s Life

Luke 22:39-53New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[a]

Take some of the light from the Christ candle and light the candle in the communion cup

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Jesus Arrested

47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

Jesus went out as usual, but there was nothing usual about this time or this night.  In a few short hours Jesus would be taken to the cross.  Jesus returns to a familiar place of prayer.  In His humanity Jesus asks if God is willing to take this cup from Him, but then affirms that no matter the cost of grace He will pay it.  An angel comes to strengthen Him, and He uses that additional strength to continue to pray.  The weight of the world and the burden of sin and betrayal pushes His body hard as He sweats blood comes through His pores.

The greatest act of betrayal is done with one of the greatest gestures of love, a kiss!  Jesus’ question cut to the core of Judas and those that came to arrest Him.  Basically that the ministry of Christ has been a public ministry so why arrest me in the dead of night.  You have had ample opportunity to do so before.  “This is your hour-when darkness reigns.”

Extinguish Candle # 1

Jesus’ Arrest & Peter Disowns Jesus-Luke 22:54-65

54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

The Guards Mock Jesus

63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.

Betrayed and now denied and rejected.  Peter who is normally the one who jumps in without thinking is now cautious and reserved wanting to see what is going on but also wanting to be safe.  When following Jesus, even at a distance, as Peter discovered it was harder and harder to deny Him, and then rooster crowed.  The denials, betrayals, and false accusations have been brought into the light.  Peter went from being a follower to a failure, and from being the rock to a broken and fractured man who wept bitterly.  The guards mocked Jesus as a prophet, as they blindfold and strike Him, demanding “who is it that hit you?”  This would only be the beginning of the abuse He would endure for each of us.

Extinguish Candle #2

The Three Trials (Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod)-Luke 22:66-23:12

66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

23 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

Jesus is now at the edge of no return, the next pivotal moments accelerate Jesus to the cross.  The ruling council asks a question, or rather presses Jesus about His identity.  “If you are the Christ…tell us?”   If Jesus speak the truth and tells them a truth they are not ready or willing to hear it becomes His death sentence as a blasphemer.  Jesus responds if I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you would remain silent not willing to entertain the idea.

Jesus speaks vaguely to them, so the counter with a direct question “Are you then the Son of God?”  He tells them they are right, and Jesus is accused as a blasphemer because the men of the council already believe Him to be so.  He has incriminated Himself by His testimony of His identity, and the law is too small to see the expanse of grace.

Pilate doesn’t want to deal with Him so he sends Jesus to Herod.  Herod wants to be entertained by the miracles of Jesus, but when Jesus will perform none Herod mocks Jesus and sends Him back to Pilate.  It was this day that Pilate and Herod became friends.  They see eye to eye on this Jesus thing.  They see Jesus maybe as delusional but certainly no threat to either to deserve death.  Yet death was in Jesus’ near future.

Extinguish Candle # 3

Pilate Seeks Jesus’ Release-Luke 23:13-25

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” [17] [b]

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Pilate tells the Jewish council that neither he nor Herod found any fault in Jesus.  Further, that it appears these charges are false.  It is bad when religious legalism is more damning than the government.  Pilate says that he will punish and then release Jesus.  The crowds had been excited to a blood lust.  Their desire for the murder of Jesus became so great that they would ask for one of their own a murderer Barabbas.  Pilate continues to plead, but inevitably consents to give the crowd their wish.

Extinguish Candle # 4

Simon Bears the Cross-Luke 26-32

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then

“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[c]

31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[d] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

          Pause for the sound effect of the hammer and the nails

Jesus tells them not to weep for Him but themselves, because if people are willing to do these things while the life of the world, Jesus is among them, what more will they do when He is no longer there?  He prays from the cross for their forgiveness even as they gamble away His clothes.

Extinguish Candle #5

The Crucifixion-Luke 23:33-45

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[e]

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[f] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The mocking continues first, you have saved others now save yourself.  Second, if you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.  Third, if you are who you say you are save yourself and us too.  Each one shows that lack of understanding that this death of Christ would be for the salvation of the world.  The one criminal rebukes the first and rightly states that they are getting what they deserve but Christ has done nothing wrong.  In that wonderful moment a man on the doorstep of death sees Jesus for who He really is and will spend eternity in paradise because of it.

At the height of the day darkness covers the whole land for three hours.  The curtain that separates God from man, the Holy of Holies is torn in two because Jesus is that bridge.  Then Jesus gives up His spirit to the Father, and breathed His last.

Extinguish Candle # 6

Death & Burial-Luke 23:46-53

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

The Burial of Jesus

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.

Watch the Video for Watch the Lamb-Ray Boltz

Extinguish Candle # 7

The Satan thought He had won, the Jewish Leader thought they could go on with life as usual, Herod and Pilate didn’t have to be bothered by this Jesus or so they thought.  Although Jesus lay dead in the tomb, and even God seemed silent, remember it would not be long before God would speak and His Living Word Jesus Christ would live again.