Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

Preparing for the passover meal in the Upper Room

 

THE UPPER ROOM WHERE THE LORD'S SUPPER IS SERVED (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE UPPER ROOM WHERE THE LORD’S SUPPER IS SERVED (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

 On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the day they prepare the Passover sacrifice, his disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations so you can eat the Passover meal?”

He directed two of his disciples, “Go into the city. A man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him. Ask the owner of whichever house he enters, ‘The Teacher wants to know, Where is my guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will show you a spacious second-story room, swept and ready. Prepare for us there.”

The disciples left, came to the city, found everything just as he had told them, and prepared the Passover meal.

After sunset he came with the Twelve. As they were at the supper table eating, Jesus said, “I have something hard but important to say to you: One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators, one who at this moment is eating with me.”

Stunned, they started asking, one after another, “It isn’t me, is it?”

 He said, “It’s one of the Twelve, one who eats with me out of the same bowl. In one sense, it turns out that the Son of Man is entering into a way of treachery well-marked by the Scriptures—no surprises here. In another sense, the man who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man—better never to have been born than do this!”

“This Is My Body”

In the course of their meal, having taken and blessed the bread, he broke it and gave it to them. Then he said,

Take, this is my body.

Taking the chalice, he gave it to them, thanking God, and they all drank from it. He said,

This is my blood,
God’s new covenant,
Poured out for many people.

 “I’ll not be drinking wine again until the new day when I drink it in the kingdom of God.”

They sang a hymn and then went directly to Mount Olives(Mark 14:12-26 MSG)

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The people chooses a murder over the Messiah

THE PEOPLE CHOOSES A MURDER OVER THE MESSIAH

PILATE WASHED HIS HANDS OF THE SITUATION (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Today as we  think on all the good things Jesus has done for each one of us, and if you were one of those people in the crowd more than 2000 years ago would you make the same choice as they did.  How can you be certain that you would or would not?  On what basics are you making your decision?

Now let us look at how scripture records that event.  We know from our studies that the Jewish leaders clamored for Jesus’ death, while a Gentile woman believed that Jesus was truly innocent.

People of these times placed a great deal of importance on dreams.  God was sending a warning to Pilate through his wife, but he did not heed it.  Pilate’ fear of losing his very prestige job made him not listen to his wife with the warning God had given to her to give to her husband.  Listen to the message she sent to her husband, 19Also, while he was seated on the judgment bench, his wife sent him a message, saying, Have nothing to do with that just and upright Man, for I have had a painful experience today in a dream because of Him.”  (Matthew 27:19 AMP).

Now Pilate is caught up in a situation is regardless to how he truly feels about it and the fact that his wife is pressing upon him not to go through with it, if he wants to keep his job and prevent a riot from taking place, he must complete the task.  All the religious leaders went among the crowd, persuading the people to call for Barabbas to be released.  This is how the Bible describes the situation; 20But the chief priests and the elders prevailed on the people to ask for Barabbas, and put Jesus to death.  21Again the governor said to them, which of the two do you wish me to release for you? And they said, Barabbas!  Matthew 27:20-21)

The people knew that Barabbas was a revolutionary and a murderer, yet they still chose him over the Son of God, one who had done so much for them.  Faced with the same choice today, people are still choosing “Barabbas.”  They would rather have the tangible force of human power than the salvation offered by the Son of God.  Now think on this for a moment and look at your own life.

The crowd has really been wiped into frenzy and Pilate is caught in one big mess, so he says this to the crowd, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?  23They all replied, Let Him be crucified! And he said, Why? What has He done that is evil? But they shouted all the louder, Let Him be crucified!” 

24So when Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but rather that a riot was about to break out, he took water and washed his hands in the presence of the crowd, saying, I am not guilty of nor responsible for this righteous Man’s blood; see to it yourselves. (Matthew 27:22-23 AMP)

This hand washing was performed as a gesture of innocence to show that one had nothing to do with a murder, was a Jewish custom, not a Roman one (Deuteronomy 21:6-9).  In trying to excuse himself and place the responsibility for an innocent man’s death on them, he followed the path already taken by the religious leaders as they dealt with Judas in 27:4, saying, “The responsibility is yours!”  In making no decision, Pilate made the decision to let the crowds crucify Jesus.  Although he washed his hands, the guilt remained.  How do you feel after you physically wash your hands, of a situation that you have been heavily involved in that you know was wrong?

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Sunday prayer praise and worship service 118 (Celebrating Palm Sunday)

TODAY WE ARE CELEBRATING PALM SUNDAY AS ONE PEOPLE HONORING OUR LORD AND SAVIOR

We encourage you to begin the worship service this morning by clicking on each video as it delivers a special message for the order of the service for your enjoyment.  Please enter into our virtual church, take a seat and enjoy the service…

It is now prayer time, click on this next video as Pastor Davis lifts us up with his prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM RIDING UPON A DONKEY

Jesus Riding on a Donkey into Jerusalem (photo by photobucket.com)

As you begin to study this lesson and the many lessons you will study on this subject, be assured that all four gospels were in agreement on this great celebration and spoke clearly about the event.  Here are the chapters and verses you can find what each had to say:  (Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19).

Now let us understand that Believers as well as non believers from around the world will begin this Sunday Morning CELEBRATING PALM SUNDAY, and we encourage you, where ever you may be to join us here as well as your local church community and together we will lift up the one who said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”  It is a day of remembrance of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Jesus as he sit upon a DONKEY.  This was the first day of the week that Jesus would be crucified, and the great Passover festival was about to begin.  Jews would come to Jerusalem from all over the Roman world during this week-long celebration to remember the great Exodus from Egypt.

THE DONKEY SEEN AS THE TRUE SYMBOL OF PEACE (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE DONKEY SEEN AS THE TRUE SYMBOL OF PEACE (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war.  Therefore, a king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Therefore, Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, he affirmed his messianic royalty, as well as his humility.  The people recognized that he was fulfilling prophecy.  The colt, never having been ridden, did not have a saddle, so the disciples threw their garments over the colt so that Jesus could sit on it.  The action of placing the cloaks on the donkey and Jesus riding it connotes majesty.  Crowds of people had already gathered on this stretch of road a mile outside of Jerusalem, going to the city for the festival.  “The crowd’s spontaneous celebration honored Jesus as they spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus and cut

PALM BRANCHES

PALM BRANCHES

branches from the trees.  Some were spread along Jesus path; others were probably waved in the air.  The branches were from palm, olive and fig trees, and they were used to welcome a national liberator and symbolized victory.

Palm branches are a token of rest and peace after sorrow (Revelation 7:9).  The word “Hosanna” means “Save now, we pray you.”  Putting these thoughts together, it would seem as if the people were acknowledging Jesus to be the One sent from God to save them from Roman cruelty and to give them rest and peace after the sorrow of their long years of Gentile oppression.

The disciples did not realize that what was happening was in exact fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy, that Jesus was actually entering Jerusalem as the rightful King of Israel.  But after the Lord had gone back to heaven to be glorified at the right hand of the Father, it dawned on the disciples that these events were in fulfillment of the Scriptures.

TODAY’S ALTER CALL: 

If you are a person studying this lesson with us today and have not received the saving grace of the Lord and would like to join the Lord’s family of BELIEVERS and receive ETERNAL LIFE, we simply ask you to, “BELIEVE!”

Now repeat this short prayer with me:  “Lord I am a sinner, I have sinned against you, I BELIEVE that Jesus died for my sins, and on the third day you raised him from the grave and today He lives.  I ask you to forgive me of my sins, and come into my heart and cleanse me of my sins.  If you have prayed this prayer with me, you now are saved and have ETERNAL LIFE  in glory.”

We encourage you to find a local Bible Teaching Church and begin to study and fellowship with other believers.  You can also return back here daily and study God’s word with us.  We share the truth of the scriptures daily, and you will find over 1000 topics for study and discussions.  May the saving grace of our Lord and Savior be with you now and forever, in Jesus name, AMEN!

WE ARE OUR BROTHERS’ KEEPER

We are the stewards of what God placed in our hands.  He gave us his only begotten son as a symbol of love, peace and justice.  In CELEBRATING this PALM SUNDAY, let us remember that we all are our brothers’ keeper, therefore, when we look upon the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, he showed us in so many wonderful ways how we too should live out our lives filled with love, peace and justice and never allow our FAITH to ever wavier on the fact “we are our brothers’ keeper.”  Now let us go out and serve as we have been called to do.

SIMON OF CYRENE WAS THE BLACK HANDS THAT HELP TO CARRY THE CROSS

SIMON OF CYRENE WAS THE BLACK HANDS THAT HELP TO CARRY THE CROSS

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

And when they had [finished] making sport of Him, they took the purple [robe] off Him and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out [of the city] to crucify Him.

And they forced a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the field (country), to carry His cross.

And they led Him to Golgotha [in Latin: Calvary], meaning The Place of a Skull.  (Mark 15:20-22 AMP).

In verse 21, Mark tells us that Simon of Cyrene, was coming into the city from the countryside into the city of Jerusalem, but the Lord was traveling out of the city.  These two men were traveling in opposite directions.  Simon was coming in and the Lord was going out being led by the Roman Soldiers and a large crowd of haters.  Simon suddenly found himself turned around at the instructions of the Centurion and finds his life walking in exactly the opposite direction from where he was first headed.  Meeting Christ at this point and being forced to place his hands on the cross and carry it would be a life changing experience for him.

Now some of you might ask, “why would he ever mention Simon of Cyrene as the Black Hands on the cross, and how would he even know that Simon of Cyrene was a Black Man?  For those of you who are truth seekers, these would be legitimate questions to ask.  For me as a Minister of the Gospel, called and ordained to come boldly before the throne of grace, and speak truth to power, convince, rebuke, exhort and teach, it is my job to empower you with knowledge in order that you may know the truth and the truth will truly set you free.  (John 8:32)

For me to state here with absolute certain that Simon of Cyrene was a Black Man is impossible.  This is a question that has been debated by Scholars worldwide for hundreds of years.  However, I should start by pointing out it is difficult to determine with accuracy black men and women in the Bible because the Bible is color-neutral. There is never any reference to race or racial features. The main distinction throughout the Bible is between those that serve God and those that do not, whether as individuals or as nations. It is not definite that everyone from Ethiopia or Cyrene was black, but certainly you could reasonably assume that it was a good possibility. So this study will have to be considered reasonable speculation.

We know very little about Simon. We see from this Mark’s writing that he had come from the country to Jerusalem on this occasion, perhaps on business. He must have been a strong man. I don’t think the soldiers would have picked a weakling. God had appointed him to be there, not to help Jesus with the cross, but to encounter the one who was to be crucified for his sins. Except for Mark’s obscure reference to Rufus and Alexander we would have no more information about Simon.

What we do know about Simon called Niger is his name.  Simon is a Jewish name and Niger comes from the Latin word for “black”.  It’s safe to say he was Jewish and may have been called “Black” simply because of his looks.

Research shows that Simon of Cyrene was from a country in ancient northern Africa (bordering Egypt) called Libya. According to Spirit of English Magazine Vol. 10, pg. 286; in ancient times Libya contained two countries Cyrenaica and Marmarica.  Wikipedia [the on line encyclopedia], shares that Libya was until recent times, the home of one the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back to at least 300 BC. In the 1st century, the Jewish historian for the Roman Empire, Josephus Flavius, noted 500,000 Jews lived in Libya. By today’s standards, people from North Africa may or may not be classified as Black. The New Testament, let’s us in on the fact that Joseph, Mary and Jesus spent time in Egypt, This raises an equally intriguing question as to whether or not Simon’s friend, Joseph of Marmarica (a.k.a. Joseph of Marmore, Joseph of Arimathea, brother of Jesus’ grandmother) from the neighboring district of Marmonica/Marmarica, should also be classified as African or Black. –Satchell Intell.

We find here in (Matthew 27:32 NKJV).  Simon of Cyrene was from Ethiopia, and this text and the identity of this man clearly reminds us all of us today that all cultures were represented at Calvary and in the church.  This further reminds us that wise men of all ages would be honored to be allowed to perform the task that was conferred upon Simon of Cyrene, the Ethiopia from northwestern Africa.  Whether it was voluntary or by force, in any case, black hands were extended to help the Savior bear His cross.  The Ethiopian eunuch from Africa (Acts 8:26) was the first Gentile convert mentioned by name in the Book of Acts.  History reports that he returned to Ethiopia to found the Abyssinian Christian Church, which exists until this day.

May God’s saving grace, be with each one of you whose hands, regardless of their color, feel obligated to pick-up your cross and carry it this day be blessed with love, peace and power.  Only because Jesus loved all of us and died for our sins so we may  have the opportunity to celebrate his life, death and resurrection on this EASTER.

Thank you for studying with us today and may you receive all that you desire from the Lord as you walk into your divine destiny…

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Jesus death was a glorious victory at the cross

HOW JESUS TURNED HIS DEFEAT AT THE CROSS INTO THE MOST GLORIOUS VICTORY THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN (Luke 23:26-35 MSG)

Greetings to all My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as we enter into the final week before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (which we call Easter), allow me to paint the picture of Jesus’ crucifixion in words and pictures for you. The story is a little longer than we normally present, but because of time constraints I did not want to break it up into two are three parts, just remember, this is not a normal story.

Therefore, I encourage you to listen up and read carefully what I am about to tell you: As they led him off,

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Simon of Cyrene the black hands that helped carry the cross (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on. At one point Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. The time is coming when they’ll say, ‘Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! And Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!’ Then they’ll start calling to the mountains, ‘Fall down on us!’ calling to the hills, ‘Cover us up!’ If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they’ll do with deadwood?”

Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution. When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, and the other on his left.

Jesus prayed while on the cross with the two thieves (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus prayed while on the cross with the two thieves (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of GOD—ha! The Chosen—ha!”

At the time of Jesus death, crucifixion was considered the most painful and degrading form of capital punishment in the ROMAN EMPIRE. It was considered so horrible that it was used by the Romans only for slaves, those from the provinces under their control, and the lowest types of criminals. It was not to be used for a ROMAN CITIZEN. This is in accord with the biblical account of CHRIST’S death and with church tradition, which asserts that Peter was also crucified, but Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded.

Crucifixion as a means of execution probably grew out of the practice of displaying the heads of captured enemies or criminals on a wooden stake, like those used to build a wall or erect fortifications. Later, entire bodies were impaled. By Jesus time, crucifixion was a common sight.

Although methods of crucifixion seem to have varied throughout the Roman Empire, through biblical and historical accounts the basic pattern is known. The condemned person was first scourged with a flagellum, a whip of leather thongs with bits of metal or bone attached. This whipping greatly weakened the victim, who then had to carry the crossbeam to the place of execution. A sign specifying the crime was often placed around the criminal’s neck or on the cross. The person was stripped naked, laid on the ground with the crossbeam under his shoulders, and tied or nailed to it. Nailing made the victim die quicker, as it did Jesus,

The Agony of being nailed to the cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Agony of being nailed to the cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

whom the Jewish officials wanted dead before the Sabbath. The crossbeam was lifted and secured to a post so that the person’s feet were hanging just off the ground. Some archaeologists think a pin or wooden block was placed halfway up the post to provide a seat for the body so that the nails would not tear open the wounds, causing the body to fall. The feet also could be nailed or tied to the post.

Although the pain was excruciating, some victims survived on the cross for days. As in the case of the two criminals crucified with Jesus, the legs of a crucified person were sometimes broken to make the sufferer die. This caused massive shock, followed by loss of circulation and heart failure.

Although completely innocent of all sin, Jesus suffered the most horrible, disgraceful punishment known. But His agonizing death was not an ordinary death, for it was not the final chapter. Jesus turned this apparent defeat into the most glorious victory the world has ever known. At the Cross, He suffered for the sins of the world. Then after His resurrection from the dead three days later, Jesus empowered His disciples with a new message, the Good News that He had finally defeated the power of sin and death. Through the Cross, Jesus offers salvation to all who will believe in Him.

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection)

The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now listen to the words Jesus spoke to his disciples, He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:46-49 KJV)

As this story clearly shows, there is power in the word for those who believe. God never makes a promise that he cannot fulfilled. It is up to you to always stand on God’s promise, believe it and watch God work in your life.

When the light seems to be the dimmest and the enemy is attacking you on all fronts it is time to stand still and watch God work. With God there is nothing that is impossible. God is truth, he is also the light, when you know the truth, not what you perceive is the truth, but what God has spoken of as truth, you can rest assured that you will have peace in your life, and your soul will be free to experience the manifestation of that truth and the light that God has promised. No weapon that the enemy may train its sights on you with, can penetrate the armor that God places around you. You are a child of God, and God will never allow any harm to come to those who keep his word, stand on faith, and not be swayed like the motions of the ocean, always going back and forth.

Now know this, God wants you to experience victory over all aspects of your life. He allowed himself to experience a horrible death on the cross in order that you might enjoy the fruits of life. He defeated sin and death in order that you may have eternal life. What more can anyone ask for, to know that if you believe in the word, except the word as ruler of your life, you can experience the joy and satisfaction of knowing that you can have victory over the world.

Now in closing, let me state that believers today should always look to the cross in understanding GOD’S

The Cross is the Symbol of God's amazing grace (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Cross is the Symbol of God’s amazing grace (Photo by Pastor Davis)

PLAN and purpose for their lives. The cross is no joke; it is the reality of Christ’s death for your victory over the world. You can continue to live in this world, partying and having fun, proclaiming that you are a Christian, but remember, your actions speak louder than your words. Jesus was not pretending when he allowed himself to be executed for our sins. We should obey the Lord in every detail as we seek to live a Christian life as we help those that are lost in Christ, find their way and understanding of THE HEART OF THE CROSS and what salvation truly means in their lives. If we truly want to know how to live a perfect life and experience victory over the enemy attacks on our well being, then I say to you right here in now, turn away from the world and look to Jesus as the perfect example.

May this lesson today be a blessing to your life and the people that God has placed in your life as a blessing to your soul.  Now we encourage you to use it, to bless others that we all may receive and experience God’s amazing grace.  I minister to you today from a position of peace, purpose, power and prosperity. I do this in the name of Jesus, Amen!

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Nicodemus question Jesus on how a person can be Born again (Part 2 of 2)

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NICODEMUS QUESTION JESUS ON HOW A PERSON CAN BE BORN AGAIN

Good Morning my brothers and sisters, today we continue our teaching on Nicodemus visit with Jesus in the cover of dark and as a teacher finds himself being taught by the Master Teacher. I love this story and I hope you do also.  Now listen up as the truth speaks to your soul.

Nicodemus as a teacher in his own right found himself in an odd position of being taught when he asked Jesus this question: “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “Be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”  By his own lack of knowledge, Nicodemus was now in for a rude awaken, and Jesus was about to teach him and all of us a lesson in how to be born again that neither he nor we would ever soon forget.

Now as we have studied the scriptures and heard many sermons preached that Jesus was known for his skills as a Master Teacher, and of course Nicodemus was a respected teacher of IsraelNicodemus was part of a group whose prestige had suffered the most because of Jesus popularity.  The Pharisees were the conservatives in Israel.  They held all the Scriptures in high regard.  They believed in eternal life.  They were the ones most people thought would be able to identify the long-awaited Messiah and announce Him to the people.

Unfortunately, the Pharisees had begun to think of the coming Messiah as one who would elevate and honor them when He came.  But Jesus showed no inclination to do this.  Instead, He called all to repentance, even the Pharisees.  He made it painfully clear to the Pharisees that their devotion to Scripture was undermined by their tendency to apply it wrongly and to exalt themselves over others.  Although they had diligently studied the Scriptures, they had not learned the central truths of Scripture: Justice, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23).

In this lesson, we understand that Jesus and Nicodemus had a private conversation late one night.  We do not know whether Nicodemus had an appointment.  We do not know what he wanted to say.  Nicodemus came to Jesus, but Jesus guided the conversation from the start.  In effect, Nicodemus took a step in the right direction, and Jesus met him more than halfway.

Nicodemus said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”  If Nicodemus purpose was to find out for himself whether Jesus was really a teacher from God, he did not have to wait long.  Instead of defending His own credentials, Jesus offered Nicodemus an eternal lesson.

How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”

Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. “But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.”

Jesus take no prisoner’s way of teaching had to one of the toughest teachers Nicodemus had ever had to encounter. He allowed Jesus to challenge his understanding.  He did not shrink from revealing his ignorance about the second birth.  He listened.  In spite of the fact that he was a teacher, he was willing to be taught.  Jesus did not disappoint.

Now I ask of you, to join Nicodemus here this night and listen to how a Master Teacher teaches the lesson of our New Birth.  He says, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

When we know the truth, the truth will set us free, and here we can see clearly that Jesus provided Nicodemus with the gospel truth, and Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God’s love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night.  What about you, have you seen the light and excepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

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Nicodemus visits with Jesus under the cover of Dark (Part 1 of 2)

 NICODEMUS VISITS JESUS UNDER THE COVER OF DARK 

THE MOON SHINES BRIGHT IN THE BLACK TIMELESS NIGHT (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE MOON SHINES BRIGHT IN THE BLACK TIMELESS NIGHT (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Why did Nicodemus wait until the cover of dark to visit with Jesus?  This is a question that has been debated by scholars for centuries, and unfortunately the scriptures do not give us a crystal clear and compelling answer.  However, what we do know is this, “Nicodemus is a Pharisee at the top of his field. Not only is he a member of the Sanhedrin, he is the most renowned Bible teacher of his day.  We also know that the Jewish religious leaders were divided into several groups.  Two of the most prominent groups were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  The Pharisees separated themselves from anything non-Jewish and carefully followed both the Old Testament laws and the oral traditions handed down through the centuries.  As a “leader,” he was a member of the Jewish ruling council.  Although the Romans controlled Israel politically, the Jews were given some authority over religious and minor civil disputes.  The Jewish ruling body was the council made up of seventy-one of Israel’s religious leaders.

The question before us is still, “why did Nicodemus wait until the cover of dark to visit Jesus and

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Crijn Hendricksz, 1616–1645. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

what motivated him to come in the first place?”  Under the cover of darkness, this well respected and influential religious man, this prominent national leader of noble decent and inherited wealth, this intellectual man who wielded great religious authority, this designated secret spokesman who represented some of his colleagues from the Jewish ruling council, waits until the cover of darkness to sneak in for a visit with Jesus.  This remains me of the way some of us prefer to do things [under the cover of darkness].

However, this question still rattles our brain, but from what we understand from scripture, we can try and fill in some of the blanks.  First, we know that Nicodemus was both impressed and curious about Jesus and chose to form his opinions about him from firsthand conversation.  Second, it is possible that he did not want to be seen with Jesus in broad daylight because he feared reproach from his fellow Pharisees (who did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah).  Finally, it might not have been fear that brought Nicodemus in the cover of dark; but it is possible that he chose a time when he could talk alone and at length with the popular teacher who was often surrounded by people.

Living in the Darkness of the Night (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Living in the Darkness of the Night (Photo by Pastor Davis)

No matter how we look at this question, how we think about it as it might relate to us, it still remains that Nicodemus chose the cover of dark to visit with Jesus.  However, what Nicodemus did not know are understand was that his own night was blacker than he knew.  He was living in complete darkness and he did not know that truth, was about to be revealed to him.

Now as he sit before the Master Teacher, this is what Jesus tells him, “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

What a tragedy that people have turned away from God’s offer, embracing instead the darkness in hopes of covering up evil actions.  There is probably no more painful moment than when we honestly confront our tendency to love darkness, to twist or withhold the truth.  The Son did not come to judge, but in the light of his character the sharp shadows of our sinfulness stand out.  The people who hate the light are those who want to sin in the darkness.  Evil deeds are revealed by the light, so people who want to do evil must do it in the dark so they cannot be exposed and caught in the act.

According to the context, to do what is right is to come to Christ, the light; the result of coming to the light and living in the light will be clearly seen in believer’s lives.  Christ’s life in us will make our lives able to stand exposure to bright light, for our deeds will be honest, pure, and truthful.  Now we can truly see that Nicodemus was able to see the light that night and experience God love from the Master Teacher because Nicodemus character was changed that very night under the cover of darkness with a meeting with the Master Teacher.

In closing, I leave you with this question, “Are you a modern day Nicodemus, living in the darkness, and seeking answers?”  Know that it is time to open yourself up and be exposed to God’s shining light.  Know the truth and the truth will set you FREE.

Tomorrow’s lesson part 2 will focus on what Jesus told Nicodemus in his secret meeting under the cover of dark.

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