Acts – Chapter 3

Peter Heals the Lame Man

Verse 1 – Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

Peter and John continued to participate in Jewish rituals and worship. It was customary for Jews to pray three times a day, morning, noon, and evening. Only now, the Gentiles were included.

Verse 2 – And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple;

Verse 3 – who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.

Verse 4 – And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.”

Verse 5 – So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

Verse 6 – Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

By the authority of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter told the man to rise and walk. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “There will be an act of obedience on our part before we see a miracle.” He had to put out the effort when Peter told him to rise up and walk. Rather than a temporary fix, which the man was use to getting with money, the man was given a permanent remedy for his physical and spiritual problems.

I wonder if this man was ever placed inside the temple when he was out front begging. I’ve seen over and over, a person standing outside, by the road, begging when church lets out because he knows the cars will be stopped in traffic right where he stands. But he never comes inside the church doors to receive what he really needs.

Verse 7 – And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

Why do we see so few miracles like this taking place today? It takes boldness, courage, and above all faith and trust, in the power of Jesus, to tell someone that is lame to rise up and walk. When we, as Christians, are obedient to the commands of God, He is responsible for the results. The question is, “Do you believe God wants you healed?” You have to believe in order to receive!

Verse 8 – So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them – walking, leaping, and praising God.

This man knew who healed him and he wasn’t shy about showing his gratitude to God. How do you thank God when He has done something out of the ordinary for you? God’s a good God and is worthy to be praised.

Verse 9 – And all the people saw him walking and praising God.

Verse 10 – Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

We shouldn’t ever let the excitement of what God does for us wear off. What He does for others, He will do for you.

Verse 11 – Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed.

Verse 12 – So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

Verse 13 – “The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

Verse 14 – “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

Verse 15 – “and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witness.

Peter took this one miracle and used it as a great opportunity to preach. Some of these Jews that were there took part in what Peter was saying . There were religious leaders there that thought after the death of Jesus, things would be the same with them in charge. But Peter blows their mind when he tells them he is a witness to Jesus’ resurrection and God’s triumph power over death.

Verse 16 – “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Peter told them who gave him the authority and power to heal this man. Peter also emphasized what God could do through him. It is Christ who does the work, not us.

Verse 17 – “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.

Verse 18 – “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

Verse 19 – “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Verse 20 – “and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,

Verse 21 – “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Many people want the benefits of being identified with Christ, but never truly repent. When we repent, God promises not only to wipe out our sins, but to bring a spiritual refreshing.

As Hosea said, “Let us acknowledge the LORD, let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)

Verse 22 – “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.

Verse 23 – ‘And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed form among the people:

In Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19, Moses spoke of Jesus, The Prophet. Peter plainly tells the people that whoever does not obey Jesus words that were spoken by Him, will be destroyed.

Verse 24 – “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.

All the prophets after Samuel told of the days of the Messiah. Of His obedience, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, the pouring down of His Spirit, times of refreshing, the Gospel dispensation, the conversion of the Jews, the calling of the Gentiles, and the gathering in all the elect of God.

Verse 25 – “You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant of God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Verse 26 – “To you first, God, having raised up His servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

God promised Abraham that He would bless the world through Abraham’s descendants, the Jewish nation (Genesis 12:3). God intended the Jewish nation to teach all other nations to love God. When Jesus came, died, and rose again, He opened the door for all people to receive His grace of forgiveness, or reject it.

 

 

 

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Acts – Chapter 2

Fifty days from the time Israel left Egypt, to the day the law was given on Mount Sinai, is called “The Day of Pentecost.” Pen-ti, means five and cost means to the tenth power, fifty. Jesus died on Passover, was with the disciples 40 days, ascended to heaven, and 10 days later is the Day of Pentecost, 50 days.

Filling With the Holy spirit

Verse 1 – Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Verse 2 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Verse 3 – Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

Divided tongues just means “individual tongues,”sat on each of them. Glossy, a Greek word meaning tongues and language. This was the baptism by fire that John the Baptist spoke of in Matthew 3:11.

Verse 4 – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

There were 120 in that room and all were filled and began to speak. They began to speak in different languages of the wonderful works of God. These are the new tongues that Christ told them they would speak in Mark 16:7.

They did not utter or speak of anything of themselves. They spoke of the wonderful works of God in a very orderly and distinct manner, so as to be heard and understood by the people. God is not the author of confusion.

Verse 5 – Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

Verse 6 – And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

Verse 7 – Then they were all amazed, and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

Verse 8 – “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

This was a powerful example to show that all nations and races of people were included in God’s plan of salvation.

Verse 9 – “Parthians and Meds and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

Verse 10 – “Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes.

Proselytes had once been Gentiles, but had been circumcised and had embraced the Jewish religion, who spoke Latin.

Verse 11 – “Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

They heard them speak of redemption, pardon, atonement, justification, and salvation, brought by the Messiah by His obedience, suffering, and death, and also His resurrection. These are the wonderful works of God that they heard that day.

Verse 12 – So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

Verse 13 – Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

Those who mocked may have been the scribes and Pharisees. and maybe their hearts were so hardened that they only heard gibberish.

Peter Explains Pentecost

Verse 14 – But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

Verse 15 – “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day (9:00 am).

Verse 16 – “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

Verse 17 – ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.

Verse 18 – And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.

Contrary to what the Jews had thought, His Spirit was for all.

Verse 19 – I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

Verse 20 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord.

In verse 17, Peter quoted the prophet Joel, “And it shall come to pass in the last days,” meaning, the days between Christ’ resurrection and His second coming. We are living in those last days. Some of the events have not taken place yet.

Verse 21 – And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’

Verse 22 – “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know –

Verse 23 – “Him being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death;

Even though Christ’s crucifixion was God’s plan for His perfect sacrifice, Peter let these people know that it was by their own lawless hearts and hands that they killed Jesus.

Verse 24 – “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundational event of Christianity and the bases of the Gospel. First, it was God who raised Jesus from the dead. Second, Jesus was literally dead before the resurrection, not just injured. Notice also that Peter personifies death as an actual force that holds the deceased in its embrace. Third, death’s power was overcome by Christ’ resurrection, which means believers should no longer fear death. The grave could not hold Christ and neither will it hold you!

Verse 25 – “For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken;

Verse 26 – Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope,

Verse 27 – Because You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

Verse 28 – You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.

Peter quoted from Psalm 16:8-11, written by David. Peter explained that David was not writing about himself, because David died and was buried. Instead, he wrote as a prophet, who spoke of the Messiah who would be resurrected. Jesus’ body was not left to decay but was resurrected and glorified.

Verse 29 – “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

Verse 30 – “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his (David’s) throne,

Verse 31 – “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

God had promised David that here would be a descendant on his throne forever – Jesus.

Verse 32 – “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are witnesses.

Verse 33 – “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit. He poured out this which you now see and hear.

Verse 34 – “For David did not ascend into heaven, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,

Verse 35 – till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ‘

Peter is telling the people, David is not the one who ascended to heaven, Jesus is. The evidence they see and hear now was done by the Holy Spirit, the Promise that Jesus made, would happen after He ascended to heaven.

Verse 36 – “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Peter plainly stated, as a matter of fact, that God made this same Jesus, whom the Jews crucified, both Lord and Messiah, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, and had invested in Him all power and authority, and made Him manifest by the Holy Spirit, which he (Peter) had received and now poured forth the same.

Verse 37 – Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Wouldn’t it be awesome if preachers would preach like that today and we’d be filled with a filling of the Holy Spirit that no one could contain? We don’t need motivational speakers today! We need men that will preach the Gospel, as it is written, so that the lost will be convicted by the Holy Spirit and truly be saved! It is not enough to be just sorry for sin. A person must receive that forgiveness and then live like their forgiven.

Verse 38 – Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 39 – “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

We are the “afar” off. If you are a believer, then you were called by God! Repenting is the part that some just don’t get. Turn from sin and change the direction of one’s life from being selfish and rebellious against God’s laws. People know the difference between right and wrong, they just don’t want to do it. The Bible says it’s because they love darkness more than light. Light will expose. The Holy Spirit will guide each believer in every walk of life. He can be trusted and must be obeyed.

Verse 40 – And with many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, “Be saved fro this perverse generation.”

Verse 41 – Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

How many of those standing there that day, do you think were already believers? Do you think because they were already saved, that they simply left and went to get something to eat, or do you think they stayed and celebrated with the others? You might think that’s an odd question, but it’s what I see today in many churches. Instead of praying for the lost and being excited when they come to Christ for salvation, many simply leave the sanctuary, because they don’t care and want to be the first to get out of the parking lot. “Disgraceful!!”

That day around 3,000 were saved and baptized, and you can’t convince me that it was dead in those streets! People were praising God like never before. I imagine there were a lot of healing’s going on also. When praises go up, blessing come down. People today need to repent of their attitudes of the lost being saved and rejoice with them.

Practices of the Early Church

Verse 42 – And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

These that were saved, continued in teaching, learning, worshiping, prayer, and what we call communion, the breaking of bread which involved fellowship with other believers.

Verse 43 – Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

These signs and wonders such as casting out demons, healing the sick, causing the lame to walk, which were promised by Christ when He said, “And greater works shall you do.” Evidence and manifestations are present when the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached.

Verse 44 – Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,

Verse 45 – and sold their possessions and goods, and divide them among all, as anyone had need.

You don’t see that today. People have so much “stuff,” just sitting in their homes. Some could sit Sunday after Sunday next to someone who was in need, and they’d never know it. Why? Because of the value people put on their stuff.

Verse 46 – So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

Verse 47 – praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

A healthy church will continue to grow in numbers. When the focus on preaching stays on Christ, then the Holy Spirit can do a work among the hearers. Preach something else, and you will get a hum drum message that accomplishes nothing!

 

 

 

Does The Holy Spirit Baptize?

Before I post Chapter 2 of the Book of Acts, some might need to understand some things about the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind when you start to read Chapter 2, there are 120 in the upper room that are already saved, born-again, and have been water baptized, but they had not been filled with the Holy Spirit.

When we get saved, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the “body of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one spirit we were all baptized into one body… we are baptized in Jesus.

But the controversy is: “Do we need to be baptized in Him? Most believe in 2 baptism’s already. The second baptism is when we are baptized in water after being saved. Matthew 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Water baptism is a sign, a cutting of the flesh, it’s a burying of the old person and coming out new.

People will argue because of Ephesians 4:5 – one Lord, one faith, one baptism. However, we know there are three in One God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There are 3 baptisms and they all agree. Even people who say there is only one baptism, believe in two. They believe that when we get saved we are baptized into Jesus, and they also believe in water baptism.

So, here’s the third baptism – “Jesus” baptizes us in the “Holy Spirit!” Proof: Matthew 3:11 – “Indeed I baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

John the Baptist wasn’t speaking to the “twelve disciples.” The twelve disciples had not been called yet. John was saying that, “The Messiah is coming and He is going to baptize you with the Holy Spirit!” and it’s for everyone!

You cannot say that all three of these baptisms are the same. Why? Because they have different subjects.

Look in the 1st baptism – when you get saved, the Holy Spirit baptizes you in Jesus. Number 2 – when you get water baptized, the subject is water. In the third baptism, it is Jesus doing the baptizing.

This is where some might get confused: There is a difference between “of” and “in”. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit baptizes us in Jesus. This is the Holy Spirit doing the baptizing.

Now, in the third baptism it is “in” or “with” the Holy Spirit, and Jesus performs this baptism.

This is in all four Gospels – Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33.

Is Jesus our example? Salvation – when we are saved, the Bible says we are “born-again.” When we are born-again, we are born as perfect children of God. Not perfect in our performance, but perfect in our position, because of what Christ did. But because Christ lived the perfect life, He was born right the first time. Now that we are saved, we are in Christ.

Was Jesus water baptized? Yes, we have all read this. But what happened right after He was water baptized?

The Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove. If Jesus needed the person of the Holy Spirit while He was on this earth, how much more do we think we need the person of the Holy Spirit while on this earth?

This is a pattern in Scripture of Salvation, Water, and Holy Spirit, baptisms.

Proof – Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If you look in Acts Chapter 8, starting in verse 12, you will see that when Phillip preached, they believed (salvation) and were baptized (water). Now look at verses 14 and 15, when the apostles heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, Peter and John came to them and prayed for them that they might receive “the Holy Spirit.” Verse 16, explains it; because the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on none of them, they had only been baptized in water. Now read verse 17 – Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:1-6 – Paul was traveling through Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They told him they had only been baptized in water, for repentance. Paul told them, “Indeed John baptized with a baptism of repentance… and when they heard this Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy “spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Do you see the patter?

If you received the fullness of the Holy Spirit when you believed, why would the greatest apostle who ever lived ask, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

This happened not only in Acts 2, but in Acts 8, 10, and 19. Acts 8, Phillip and Samaria, was 5 years after Pentecost; Acts 10, is about the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit, and was 10 years after the Day of Pentecost; Acts 19 was 25 years later, the apostles still believed after being saved and water baptism, they still needed to be baptized in the “Holy Spirit!”

1 John 5:7 – For there are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy spirit; and these three are One.

What do they bear witness to? The supernatural life.

Look closely because here are the three baptisms. Verse 8 – And there are three that bear witness on earth: The Spirit, the water, and the blood: and these three agree as One. (1) Spirit, (2) Water, (3) The blood – salvation through the shed blood of Christ.

Conclusion: When you get saved, you become a new person; when you get water baptized, the old person is cut off buried in baptism; when you get Spirit baptized, you receive power to walk in the new life. It’s a complete work. Water baptism comes after salvation.

This is a huge reason why so many believers are defeated and overcome very little in their Christian walk. They have no power to walk in the “Spirit.” They haven’t been taught.

Yes, you can believe and be saved and water baptized and still go to heaven. But don’t you want to walk in power while you live on this earth?

 

The Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 1

Introduction: Jesus’ last recorded words have come to be known as the Great Commission, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (1:8). The Book of Acts, written by Luke, is the story of the men and women who took that commission seriously and began to spread the news of the risen Savior to the most remote corners of the known world.

While the apostles are mentioned collectively at several points, this book records mostly the acts of Peter and Paul. As a close traveling companion of Paul, Luke had access to the principle eyewitness for chapters 13-28. It is also likely that he had opportunities to interview such key witnesses in Jerusalem as Peter and John for the information in chapters 1-12.

Acts traces important events in the early history of Christianity from the ascension of Christ to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the rapid progress of the gospel, beginning in Jerusalem and spreading throughout the Roman Empire.

Acts is a pivotal book of transitions; from the gospels to the epistles (history), from Judaism to Christianity, from law to grace, from Jews alone to Jews and Gentiles, and from kingdom to church.

Verse 1 – The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

Verse 2 – until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

Verse 3 – to whom He also presented Himself alive after suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

Some believe that “Theophilus” was a seeker of God and that Luke aimed to explain Christianity to him. Others think Theophilus was a resent convert who required instruction in his new-found faith. Still others think he was an early church leader for whom Luke provided a summary of events surrounding the rise of Christianity. In any of the above scenarios, it is possible that Theophilus provided the financing of the Book of Luke and Acts.

Verse 4 – And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

Verse 5 – “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

John’s baptism was a symbolic washing to purify and indicate repentance of sin. The baptism of the Promise, the Holy Spirit, would have a greater impact by indwelling the believers.

Verse 6 – Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Jesus’ disciples knew that all of Israel did not belong under Roman rule. They still did not grasp that the kingdom Jesus was talking about was spiritual and would dwell in every believer through His Holy Spirit.

Verse 7 – And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

Verse 8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witness to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Power from the Holy spirit is strength beyond the ordinary! That power involves courage, boldness, confidence, insight, revelation, ability, and authority. That same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in each believer (Romans 8:11).

The Ascension of Christ

Verse 9 – Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of sight.

The disciples had spent 40 days with Christ learning. They were to stay in Jerusalem and wait on the promise; once they received the promise, they were to go throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the world preaching what Christ had taught them. Only, now they would have the power of the Holy Spirit to preach, be a witness, and bless, and perform miracles, all according to Christ’ teaching.

Verse 10 – And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel,

Verse 11 – who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go to heaven.”

The ascension took place on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem. Angels are very direct when they speak. They wanted to know why these men were standing there gazing up to heaven as if Jesus was going to return immediately. What they said would also imply why they hadn’t left yet and returned to Jerusalem to wait on the Promise, like the Lord had instructed them.

Verse 12 – Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount of Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.

Verse 13 – And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Phillip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the zealot; and Judas the son of James.

Verse 14 – These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

The resurrection of Jesus must have convinced His brothers that Jesus was who He said. Also, this is the last time Mary, the mother of Jesus is heard from. We have no idea how long she lived after this.

So, what do we do when waiting on God? We pray and think Him for the answer before we ever see it. God is faithful and cannot lie. He will deliver, right on time.

Verse 15 – And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty) and said,

Verse 16 – “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became guide to those who arrested Jesus;

Verse 17 – “for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”

Those privileged to be close to the truth are not necessarily committed to the truth. Judas received the same calling and teaching as everyone else. But he chose to reject Christ’s warning as well as His offers of mercy. Judas hardened his heart and joined in the plot with Jesus’ enemies to put Him to the death. However, this had to happen, as Peter said.

Verse 18 – (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.

Matthew says Judas hanged himself (Matthew 27:5). This money that was used to buy this field, was bought with the 30 pieces of silver that Judas threw back at the chief priest. They didn’t want to put the money that had betrayed Jesus in the temple treasury. Judas hanged himself, and perhaps the rope of the branch broke and Judas fell to the ground and burst open.

Verse 19 – And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) (blood money)

Verse 20 – “For it is written in the book of Psalms: ‘Let his habitation be desolate, and let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’

Verse 21 – “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

Verse 22 – “beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was then taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

Verse 23 – And they purposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

Verse 24 – And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen

Verse 25 – “to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”

Verse 26 – And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The casting of lots was an acceptable method for making decisions in the era before the Holy Spirit was given. The sovereign Lord ensured that the lot fell in such a way as to identify His chosen man.

 

 

 

John – Chapter 21

Verse 1 – After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself;

Verse 2 – Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.

Verse 3 – Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.

This will be the third recorded time that Jesus appeared to His disciples. My question is: Where was He when they didn’t see Him? When the Bible is silent in certain areas, maybe we should just leave it alone.

Verse 4 – But when the morning had come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

Verse 5 – Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.”

The disciples didn’t recognize Him, but yet were close enough to shore to hear Him.

Verse 6 – And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

Have you ever done something over and over, trying to get a different result? We think that if we just keep dong it the same way, maybe next time it will work. But, how do we know when to give up and stop doing the same way?

When we have done something the “old way,” with no results, over and over, Christ will bring a new way of thinking into your life. His ways are not like our ways.

Verse 7 – Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.

Verse 8 – But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.

Verse 9 – Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.

Verse 10 – Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have caught.”

Verse 11 – Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were many, the net was not broken.

It’s odd that John mentions the number of fish hauled in. I’m sure they did not sit there and count them while Jesus watched. But whatever the reason for recording the exact number of fish, the recording of it was inspired by God’s Holy Spirit.

Verse 12 – Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?” – knowing that it was the Lord.

Verse 13 – Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

By taking the bread and fish and giving it to the disciples, Jesus acted as a Jewish host pronouncing the blessing at a meal.

Verse 14 – This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised form the dead.

By the mouth of two or three witnesses, everything is established, so by these three principal appearances of Christ to His disciples, His resurrection from death was confirmed.

Verse 15 – So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

Verse 16 – He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Verse 17 – He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Peter had denied Jesus three times; now Jesus asked him three times to reaffirm his love for Him. It is one thing to say you love Jesus but the real test of that love will be proven with our willingness to serve Him with obedience.

Verse 18 – “Most assuredly, I say to you when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you wish.”

This was a prediction of Peter’s death by crucifixion. Tradition says that Peter was crucified for his faith, but he chose to be crucified upside down because he felt himself unworthy of dying in the same manner as Christ. When threatened with death, is your faith strong enough not to deny Christ.

Verse 19 – This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

Verse 20 – Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”

Verse 21 – Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

Peter and Jesus are walking and Peter turns and sees John following them. Then John writes a description of himself so there is no mistake of whom  it is that is following. Peter wasn’t asking Jesus who would betray Him because they already knew that. John was writing that it was he who had asked that question at their last supper. Peter’s question to the Lord was, “What about John? How is he going to die?”

Verse 22 – Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

In other words: Mind your own business, Peter. What business is it of ours what the calling of another is or when they will die? God gives each individual their assignment. Peter needed to do what the Lord instructed him to do and leave John to do what the Lord told him to do. We can all learn from what Jesus told Peter, which is : Mind to your own affairs!” No one will answer for another. You are responsible to the Lord for what He gives you.

Verse 23 – Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

Early church history reports that after John spent several years in exile on the Island of Patmos, he returned to Ephesus where he died as an old man, near the end of the first century.

Verse 24 – This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that this testimony is true.

Verse 25 – And there are many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

John acknowledged that he had to be selective in choosing the material about Jesus. However, after reading this Gospel, one would certainly know why Jesus came and what we must do to be saved. Our decision on where we are going to spend eternity is the biggest and most important decision a person will ever make.

“Make the right one!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

John – Chapter 20

The Resurrection of Christ

Verse 1 – On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

Verse 2 – Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.

From reading the other Gospels, we know there were two other women with Mary Magdalene that went to the tomb that Sunday morning. Matthew records that these women encountered an angel sitting on the stone to the entrance that told them He is risen. Mark records there was an angel inside that also told them that He had risen. No contradiction, just different views of what took place.

Verse 3 – Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.

Verse 4 – So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first (John).

Verse 5 – And he stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying there; yet he did not go in.

Verse 6 – Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen clothes lying there,

Verse 7 – and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but folded together in a place by itself.

The grave-clothes were left as though Jesus passed right through them. By the cloth that was used to wrap Jesus’ head being folded, proved that grave robbers had not taken His body, because they would not have stopped and folded the cloth.

Verse 8 – Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first went in also; and he saw and believed.

Verse 9 – For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

Not until they saw with their own eyes, did they believe Jesus had risen. Jesus had told them many times, but the Holy Spirit had not come upon them as yet for them to have understanding. Now they knew.

Verse 10 – Then the disciples went away to their own homes.

Verse 11 – But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked in the tomb.

Verse 12 – And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

Peter and John had looked in the tomb and only saw the clothes, but no angels. Mary Magdalene looks in and sees two angels sitting where Jesus had laid. Why do you think the angels appeared to Mary but not John and Peter? Perhaps because Mary was still in unbelief that Christ had risen and she needed to be reassured.

Verse 13 – Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

Verse 14 – Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

Verse 15 – Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” she supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

Mary didn’t expect this Man to be Jesus, so she didn’t recognize Him. she was in a state of panic because she thought someone had removed Jesus body.

There is a lesson here we could all learn: When in a crises or situation that panic’s us, don’t be so focused on the situation that you miss Jesus in your midst. Panic and worry is not from God. Shift your focus by keeping your eyes and heart on His promise, “Keep your mind set on Me, and I will keep you in perfect peace.” (Isaiah 26:3).  Try it. It works, every time!

Verse 16 – Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabbi!” (which is to say, Teacher).

Wow! When the Master called her name, she knew Him! Can you imagine the excitement? She went from grief to panic and in a second went to astonishment and excitement! Every believer has heard Jesus call their name, and when He called, we came.

Verse 17 – Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

Verse 18 – Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

Christ Appears to the Disciples

Verse 19 – Then, the same day at evening being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

In Hebrew – Shalom is still used today. Peace is Jesus gift to His followers by virtue of His sacrificial death on the cross. When we allow Jesus in the midst of any situation, He will give us peace, knowing He is there.

Verse 20 – Now when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Verse 21 – Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Verse 22 – And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

This may have been a special filling of the Holy spirit for the disciples, a foretaste of what they would experience on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and forever after. With this in-breathing came power to do God’s will on earth.

Verse 23 – “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

This is to be understood by the preaching of the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus so people’s sins might be forgiven. The disciples did not have the authority to forgive sin and neither does anyone else. Jesus gave them the privilege of telling new believers that their sins have been forgiven because they accepted Jesus. All believers have the same privilege.

Verse 24 – But Thomas, called Didymus, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

Verse 25 – The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

This is where the phrase, “Doubting Thomas” comes from.

Verse 26 – And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”

Verse 27 – Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

If doubt leads to questions, and questions lead to the truth, then the doubt has done a good work. However, if doubt leads to stubbornness, and stubbornness becomes a life-style of rebellion, then doubt has hardened your faith and caused unbelief.

Verse 28 – And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Verse 29 – Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Don’t let your stubbornness always want more and more evidence of who Jesus is. It will destroy your very being.

Verse 30 – And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

Verse 31 – but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Do you believe?

 

 

 

 

John – Chapter 19

Verse 1 – So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.

The flogging should have killed Jesus, however, it didn’t. This was foretold in Isaiah 50:6 – “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. Jesus allowed this for you and me. We were on His mind and heart when He went to the cross.

Verse 2 – And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.

Verse 3 – Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.

Verse 4 – Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

Imagine how hard it was for all of heaven to restrain from rescuing Jesus. As all of heaven watched, their “Darling of heaven,” was being beat, spit on, and mocked, with no delivery in sight! The only way they were restrained, was by the power of the All Mighty.

Verse 5 – Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

Verse 6 – Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”

Verse 7 – The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

Accusing Jesus of blasphemy would give credibility to their case in the eyes of the Jews. But if they had known the Scriptures, like they claimed, they would never have accused Him. However, these were evil and wicked men that saw themselves as the only spokes-people for God. And when that authority was jeopardized, they had to crush it.

Verse 8 – Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,

Verse 9 – and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave no answer.

Verse 10 – Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

Verse 11 – Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

Even though Pilate was responsible for his own decision, Caiaphas, Judas, and the others had premeditated His murder. These men were the ones who were truly on trial, not Jesus. One day they would have to answer to God for what they had done.

Verse 12 – From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

The Roman government was expected to keep the peace among the Jews. Pilate knew that this conflict should have stayed among the Jews and Jesus, but now they brought a political charge against Him, saying Jesus called Himself above Caesar. Now Pilate knows he has to make an appeasing choice.

Verse 13 – When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Verse 14 – Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

This Preparation Day, was the same day that the Passover was eaten. This would take place on the eve of the Sabbath.

Verse 15 – But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”

By professing Caesar alone as their king, the Jewish leaders betrayed their natural heritage and denied their own messianic expectations based on the promises of Scripture.

Verse 16 – So he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.

Any time you might feel like this Christian life is not worth living for, go back to the Scriptures and read what all our Savior went through in order for you to live! No one at any time in your life would ever go through what He did for you to by-pass the punishment for your sin.

The Crucifixion of Christ

Verse 17 – And He, bearing His cross, went out to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,

Verse 18 – where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.

Verse 19 – Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was; JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Verse 20 – Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

The inscription, specified the crime for which He was executed. In mocking Him, they spoke the truth.

Verse 21 – Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ‘ ”

Verse 22 – Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Verse 23 – Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.

This tunic was woven from top to bottom without seams. It is the same as the tunics worn by the high priests.

Verse 24 – They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them (Psalm 22:18), and for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Verse 25 – Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Verse 26 – When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your Son!”

One disciple stood with these women at the cross, all others had fled. We know it’s John, because John refers to himself in his gospel as the disciple whom Jesus loved. This is not an arrogant statement. John simply stated a fact.

If any follower of Christ doesn’t know that Jesus loves them, then they need to re-read  the suffering He went through for their forgiveness.

Verse 27 – Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

Jesus made provision for His mother, who was almost certainly widowed and probably in her early fifties, with little or no personal income. The ironic thing is, Jesus had other brothers that would be capable of taking care of Mary but they weren’t there. He asked John, His beloved disciple to take care of her because He knew he would.

Verse 28 – After this Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”

Verse 29 – Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

Verse 30 – So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin. Wen He said, “It is finished,” it meant, “Paid in full!” He paid the full penalty for our sin. With His death, there was no more need for the shedding of an animal’s blood as a sacrifice for man’s sin. Now there would be access to All Mighty God, though His Son Jesus.

Verse 31 – Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for the Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Crucifixion was a long and suffering, painful death. One died by suffocation. Because this was a holy day, they needed to speed it up a bit if those on the cross were not dead already.

Verse 32 – Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.

When they broke their legs, they wouldn’t be able to use them to push up in order to help them breathe.

Verse 33 – But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

Verse 34 – But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

Verse 35 – And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.

John inserted this verse to let the readers know, “He witnessed” Jesus death, so you might believe.

Verse 36 – For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled. “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” (Psalm 34:20)

Verse 37 – And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” (Zechariah 12:10; 13:6)

The Burial of Christ

Verse 38 – After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.

Joseph was a wealthy member of the Jewish ruling council.

Verse 39 – And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.

These two men were both members of the Jewish council. Their lives were changed by Jesus and they came out of hiding. When confronted with Jesus and His death we should be changed to believe, proclaim, and act!

verse 40 – Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

Verse 41 – Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.

Verse 42 – So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

They had to hurry because no work could be done as the Sabbath approached. The tomb was nearby, so that is where they laid Him. They then rolled a huge stone in front of the entrance.