“Handle the Body of Jesus with Care!”

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Photo Credit: By Anonimous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.  When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock . . .,” Matthew 27:57-60a, NKJV

If at no other time of the year, it is during this season when we are drawn closer to the death, burial and the resurrection of Christ.  As well we should be.  In just one week we will be celebrating Easter (Resurrection Sunday) when are starkly reminded of the cost of our sins and the victory that Jesus gained  over it all.

The cost was heavy but the price had to be paid.  It was unavoidable.  But, that’s not the end of the story.  To get to the end let’s back it up some first.

Sitting at what we now call the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper, the Bible tells us, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to His disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  Then He took the cup, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,'” (Matthew 26:26-28, NKJV).

Through all of the hints and teachings, if the disciples never really understood Jesus’ mission, He clearly lays it out here.  Through the bread He showed the brokenness His body would endure.  Isaiah’s prophecy would soon be fulfilled.  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5, KJV).

With that fulfillment a new covenant would begin.  God’s plan for salvation would once and for all be sealed by His shed blood.

Knowing that, after we arrive back to the point after His death, how must it have felt for Joseph of Arimathea to handle the lifeless body of the Savior, whom he has come to identify with, for he himself became a disciple also (Matthew 27:57)?

After His body was given to Joseph, the Bible says, “he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb.”  This is such a beautiful picture of the care and love for a Savior who gave it all up for him.

How are we handling the body of Jesus?

Joseph made sure it was wrapped in “clean linen.”  Through the brokenness of His body we have been healed.  Through His shed blood, we have been washed.  We carry the Savior and His new covenant on the inside of us.  Have we wrapped Him in “clean” vessels?

David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10, KJV).  The spiritual house on the inside of each of us has to be clean.  Dust particles of any works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) has to be removed.  “Such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Galatians 5:21, NKJV).  “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NKJV).

When God blessed us with Holy Spirit, it’s as if we are taking on a part of Christ.  We can’t wrap Him in just anything.  We have to meticulously make sure what we wrap Him in is clean, using the same care that Joseph of Arimathea did.

Then, “he laid him in his new tomb.”  His refers to Joseph’s.  It was Joseph’s new tomb that Jesus was being laid in.  The vessel that Jesus was laid in was new.

When we have Christ on the inside of us we are not the same as we used to be.  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).

In handling the body of Jesus on the inside of us, we have to act like He is in something new.  Renewed!  Not to continue in all that old, used stuff before we knew and received Christ.  But, brand new!

We’re not talking about refurbished or recycled to appear new.  The vessel that Joseph had to offer Jesus was new!  Remember, as Christians, we are that which has been made new.  Are we keeping it that way?  Are we handling the body of Jesus with great care?  Is He wrapped in cleanness and laid in the new?

How did Joseph feel?  Maybe a little in awe but mostly I feel (and it’s just my opinion) that he felt honored to be able to lovingly care for the body of the Lord.  To be able to hold that brokenness with the knowing that He went to the cross and died for him and all humanity – priceless!

“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me,” (Luke 22:19, KJV).

Let’s take special care today for how we handle the body of Jesus in our clean and new vessels.  It was given for us, therefore, let us take care of it.

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No one could ever put into words the pain of what it felt like to hang on that cross and bear the sins of the world. But, as He hung there, with blood pouring down, He was in the gathering process. That’s why He couldn’t come down because even as He was nailed and left to die, He with great sorrow and tears, was working at gathering that would eventually lead to rejoicing.

Today, because of what Christ did, we are part of that gathering process. Rejoice in the Savior and honor Him for the sacrifice He made for you and me.

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From the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed earnestly until His sweat became as great drops of blood (Luke 22:44), to the illegal trials at night that stripped away any rights He may have had in the human form, Jesus knew anguish.  He knew more than just heaviness of heart.  He experienced deep, physical pain – yet, the night was not over.

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Take a minute for God in the busyness of this day to pray this simple prayer . . .

“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.” — John Calvin

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“When Jesus Cleansed our Temple…”

 

One of the events most etched in people’s minds and history when recalling the events that occurred during this blessed time of the years was the cleansing of the temple (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46).  It is during this time when Jesus had had enough! It was time to get the house of God cleaned up! Unashamedly and without regard for roving eyes and the tsk tsk tsking of the people’s lips, He flips tables over and starts throwing people out to get His Father’s house back in order.  With holy force, He sought to reclaim what was rightfully God’s.

But, can I tell you, His fight didn’t stop there.  He wanted more than a building to reclaim for God, He wanted people that rightfully belong to Him.  He wouldn’t gain that by flipping over tables, rather He flipped over the gates of hell.  He wouldn’t get there by driving people with wrong intents away, but with force, He drove the enemy of our soul away and crushed him under His feet. He wanted to win the temple of people’s heart for His Father and this fight could only be won on the cross.

The whips that were used against Him were nothing in comparison to the sting He was delivering to the enemy.  The ridicule He experienced couldn’t overshadow the words of comfort and the prayers of forgiveness He offered as He hung there.  The thorns that were placed on Him and the sword that pierced His side couldn’t contend with the piercing plea of souls searching for everlasting freedom the cross could provide.  On the cross, He would remain until the victory to reclaim the lost and hurting world to His Father was won.  On the cross, He would stay until the temple of the one who would believe in Him could be cleansed and made new that true worship and true fellowship with the Father could be restored.

When Jesus stepped in the place for us, He cleansed our temples with the only thing that could work: His Blood.  His blood is the only thing that could turn the enemy of our soul upside down.  His blood is the only thing that could deliver from the eternal death to come.  His blood is the only way to reclaim the hearts of the people; the temple of their souls for the Father.

When Jesus cleaned our temple, He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.  More than a building was rightfully returned to God.  You and I and everyone who believes were won by the cleansing power of the cross.

When Jesus cleansed our temple He did more than flip over tables.  He took who we used to be and made us brand new.  He turned our world upside down and gave us entrance into the kingdom of God, and we are so glad He did.

“Religion says earn your life. Secular society says create your life. Jesus says, ‘My life for your life.” – Timothy Keller

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse us, yet if we withhold ourselves from that blood, we will be unclean forever.” – Aiden Wilson Tozer

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5

“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” – Robert Lowry

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

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“Are you thirsty for God?”

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Are you thirsty for God? 
God, You are what my soul seeks after…
“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
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In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1

“God hears the prayers of our heart…”

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“If My People…” Sunday School Lesson Summary and Activities, 2 Chronicles 7:12-22

This week’s Sunday School Lesson Summary Notes and Activities are available once again, just in case you missed it. Enjoy and have a beautifully blessed weekend 😊

“Be Fulfilled!”


 

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” Matthew 5:6

 As a mom, I remember distinctly the graduations of my children.  They were very proud moments for parents and students alike.  As each graduate would come out during the processional, moving closer to the stage, soon to walk across it to receive their diplomas, you could see the look of accomplishment etched proudly on their faces.  A contentment that had washed over each of them that declared, “I made it!”  And with that, the feeling of fulfillment begins to set it.

Those joyous times that we get to celebrate achievements are wonderful.  No one can take away the feelings of awe and satisfaction that comes with that sense of accomplishment.  Unfortunately, as Christians, I think we place too much value on the accomplishments to satisfy us and not enough value in the Christ that is already filling us.

Don’t get me wrong.  In no way am I stating the celebrating of reaching these goals is wrong.  As a matter of fact, I believe it’s a very healthy thing to set goals and be proud of the achievement that follows.

What of the times in-between?  Most of our every day is what one would define as, “Humdrum.”  There are times when we are not in the process of celebrating those wonderful graduating victories.  What of that time?

This is where most will begin to feel a sense of loss; a sense of not quite being worthy enough; carrying a feeling of not measuring up to one’s self or another’s standard.  These in-between times are when people start to lose spiritual footing.  Some may even begin to venture backwards with the feeling of, “Why should I even bother?”

That is not what God wants for us.  He does not want you to base your self-worth off of the things that you have done, but rather off of who you are in Him. You are His child.  You are the one that He allowed His Son to be sacrificed for.  You are the one He chose to redeem.  And, if God saw that much value in you to do all of that, how dare we look to accomplishments for satisfaction.

The Bible declares in Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…”   We don’t find who we are or content ourselves with anything outside of Him!  When I wake up in the morning it’s not because of anything that I have done.  The reason is because “in Him” I live, move and have my very being.  I was not designed, as a child of God, to feel the need to be fulfilled anywhere other than in Him!

We don’t need to hunger after the things of this world.  We don’t need to feel like we can only be complete during those graduation victories.  Jesus said, “They which do hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.”  In other words, all we have to do is to have that sincere yearning within us to do that which is right for Him.  He will fill us!  We shall be satisfied because we have found out where our real value lies.  In Him!

Graduation victories and celebrations of the same are wonderful, but we can’t live there all the time.  Day to day, I have to know that because I am His child, and because I am hungering and thirsting after righteousness, I can be filled.  Whether it is a rainy Monday, a get-over-the-hump Wednesday or a celebrating Sunday; because I am in Him and He is in me, I can always feel fulfillment in my life.