It Is Finished!

A darkness fell upon the land. It was noontime. Three hours later, a cry: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” No one would rescue him, his mouth so parched he scarcely swallowed. “I’m thirsty,” he pleaded, so they allowed a drip of vinegar – just enough to moisten his lips as he declared, “It is finished!” It was his last breath. He bowed his head and died. But then the earth shook! Tombs opened! And all mankind gained the opportunity to interact directly with God as His children! You already know this is about Jesus. He gave up His life when He proclaimed, “It is finished” ( John 19:28-30 ). Some scoffed while He hung on the cross: “You were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. Come down from the cross and save yourself!” But they didn’t understand that Jesus spoke of His own body. They didn’t realize that Jesus invited them to destroy His body 3 years before they crucified Him ( John 1:18-22 ). This happened according to God’s well-thought, compassio


  Jesus. It’s a name that represents different things to different people. The name is spoken softly and also exclaimed. It’s used to call upon and it’s used to curse.   What does the name Jesus mean to you? Come with me as we consider who this Jesus is as explained in God’s holy Word…   It’s a new year and we’re looking back on the Christmas season when we possibly hear the name Jesus the most. It’s when we imagine Jesus as a baby born in a manger  ( Luke 2:7 )  similar to the nativity scene pictured above. There was nothing notable about his parents, Joseph and Mary – nothing special about them in their society, anyway. But they were faithful to God and God chose them ( Matthew 1:18-25 , Luke 1:26-38 ). Jesus, on the other hand, was very special. He was formed by God inside the womb of a virgin ( Luke 1:26-38 ). He was the one who gave God’s people hope for hundreds, even thousands of years. He was prophesized to be their Messiah, their Deliverer, their “Wonderful Counselor

Yielding to the Holy Spirit to Accomplish Great Things
(Gaining a Boldness Like Peter's, Part 3 of 3)

  Why are we still here on earth? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a grand get-together in Heaven with our God? Yes, but wouldn’t it be better if it were grander, with more of our friends and family present, and others we may meet? Well, that’s why we haven’t had our grand gathering yet. God wants more people to enjoy it with Him ( 2 Peter 3:9 and 15 ). This really speaks to our purpose on earth: As a unified body, preach and teach the gospel, and help people follow Jesus well, so they in turn will do the same ( Matthew 28:19-20 , Acts 1:8 ). The Disciples wanted to head straight to the grand get-together, too. They’d been waiting for God’s kingdom for far too long. They were ready for the resurrected Jesus to begin His great reign and free them from their uncomfortable lives after generations of war and oppression. “Yes, Jesus. Let it be now,” they yearned. But it wasn’t now. This is what Jesus told them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own

Recognizing the Greatness of the Resurrected Savior
(Gaining a Boldness Like Peter's, Part 2 of 3)

  Sometimes I clam up when it comes to openly talking about Jesus and claiming Him as my Savior and Lord outside of Christian circles. I bet I’m not alone in this. Somehow the gospel of Jesus doesn’t always roll naturally off the tongue, even from tongues of seasoned Christians. A year ago, I pondered this question: How did Peter transform from denying Jesus at the cross to boldly preaching the gospel to people across social, economic, cultural, and political classes? So, I launched into a personal exploration of his story which grew into a 9-session series in our work Bible study. Any one of us could’ve been Peter, an everyday, hard-working fisherman earning a normal living and spending non-work time with family and friends. By the end of the series, we recognized Peter as a man who loved Jesus more than he loved himself, and who died a martyr because he wouldn’t stop declaring Jesus as the Savior of the world. In a series of 3 blog posts, we look at what made Peter the outspoke

Nursing Hope that’s Hidden in Self-Preservation
(Gaining a Boldness Like Peter’s, Part 1 of 3)

  I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years. I’ve attended church very regularly for each of those years. I was much more than a Sunday Christian - very involved in ministry. But I was also a closet Christian. I didn’t always speak up for Jesus. I still don’t. Too often I shrink in silence. When the guys in the locker room carry on about girls, I do my own thing. When they exclaim, “Jesus Christ!,” I keep quiet. Sure, they know I’m a Christian. They even know I published some Bible studies, but when they occasionally comment about going to church or recite a Bible phrase, I clam up.   Why? Am I ashamed of Jesus?   The short answer: Yes, I am ashamed of Jesus. I’m a member of Christians Anonymous . Sometimes I prefer to sit on the sidelines and just watch instead of following through with the Great Commission that Jesus expects of us: Do what we can to help people everywhere follow Jesus, who in turn will do the same ( Matthew 28:19-20 , Acts 1:8 ). Who are we when we’