Jesus: Prince of True Peace John 20:19-23

Text: “For unto us a child is born unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6.

Good morning, peace-loving Christian!  You were perhaps, like the author, once a wild-child of the world.  But now, in Christ Jesus, you are become a lover of true peace.  What made the difference?  Yes!  Jesus made the difference.  Praise His Name.  For you and for me, Jesus is the Source of true and everlasting peace.  Thanks be to the Living Lord God!

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Romans 5:1-2)

Fear is the one factor that is holding the Christian church back today!

Picture the scene described in todays Bible reading, my friend.  Most of the disciples of the now Crucified Christ Jesus are huddled together for comfort behind doors that were securely shut.  Their Lord and Master had been taken captive, brought before the Roman Governor; interrogated brutally by Pilate and the Roman soldiers; found ’…faultless…’ but guilty of condemnation; tortured, beaten, humiliated, and then barbarically crucified to death.  Those disciples, as close associates of the Crucified Jesus were, no doubt, at the top of the Jewish leaders hit-list for a similarly brutal death.  They must have been terrified there in that upper room.  Think about it!

Yet, at the height of their most dreaded fears - ‘…came Jesus and stood in the midst…’  Hallelujah!  The Lord Jesus always comes in a perfect time!

There is no mention of a door being unbarred to let the risen Christ Jesus enter the upper room.  There is no mention of Him knocking the locked door.  There is no mention at all of chains having to be taken from the door; or a barricaded door having to be opened to give Him entrance.  No!  ‘…came Jesus and stood in the midst…’  

The risen Christ had a glorified Body that had overcome death and been resurrected from the tomb.  His glorified Body had the power to wall right through those barred doors; right through those stout walls.  Nothing could keep the risen Christ Jesus from fellowshipping with His people.  Glory!  You and I shall one day have bodies just like Him!  Wow! 

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear (in the air), we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.                   (1 John 3:2)

Then we (born again at Christs Appearing) which are alive and remain shall be caught up (translated, raptured) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bare the image of the Heavenly.  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption (fleshy bodies) inherit incorruption.  Behold I show you a mystery (new revealed truth); We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed.  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruption (fleshy body) must put on incorruption (glorified body), and this mortal (temporal life) must put on immortality (Eternal life).  (1 Corinthians 15:49-53)

These eye-witness disciples (the mark of a true apostle) of the risen Lord Jesus actually saw His glorified Body come right through that wall!  All fear was suddenly banished. 

The once terrified disciples became fearless witnesses for Christ Jesus.  What they had seen with their own eyes could never ever be down-played, or taken away from them.  Most of the disciples of Christ went to a martyrs death without fear - because they KNEW the truth of the Gospel; they KNEW by personal experience the resurrection power of the Son of God - and being totally convinced of these facts, they lost all other fear.  Praise God!

Christs Bodily Presence in that upper room banished all fear in the hearts of His chosen disciples forever.  The absence of all fear is the state of true peace.  For the genuine Spiritually regenerate Christian, death, pain, illness, sword, famine, disease - are as nothing, if Christs Presence is assured.

Take heart then, peace-loving Christian!  Knowing in Whom you and I have believed - Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living Lord God - we can also be fearless and at peace in the very centre of His Sovereign will.

Thought:  ’…Perfect love (of Christ) casteth out fear…’                (1 John 4:18)

Better Late Than Never! John 19:38-42

Text:  “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him (the Lord God Almighty) which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.”

Matthew 10:28.

 Good morning, fearless Christian witness!  There is no such God-ordained role for the ‘secret Christian witness’!  Doing something in ‘secret’ and being a Christian witness are diametrically opposed terms and meanings.  You can either try to fulfil a role in secret, OR you can be a witness - the two are mutually exclusive terms.  Praise God for open and fearless Christian witnesses!

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me (Christ Jesus) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

Dictionary Definition: Witness - someone who sees or has personal knowledge of an event, etc.; someone who gives evidence; someone whose signature confirms the genuineness of a document, or of a signature already added…(something that is) proof or evidence of anything; knowledge brought in proof; testimony of a fact…to give evidence of; to confirm fact of; attest to truth of, etc.  (The Chambers Dictionary page 1920)

The Divinely inspired Scriptures clearly teach us that every Christian must witness in the following manner:  

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

The clear proof of the Gospel of Eternal Salvation - found only in the Lord Jesus Christ by God’s grace, through faith - is openly revealed in the daily lives of fearless Christian witnesses.  True Christians have not only found secure Salvation in Christ and in His finished Atonement Sacrifice at the Cross, but are not content to keep such Eternally priceless knowledge selfishly to themselves; they must share it with as many other precious souls as possible.

“The fruit of the righteous (made righteous in Christ Jesus) is a tree of life; and he/she that winneth souls (by open Christian witness) is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)

This is the reason the apostle Paul cried out: “For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!”  (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Paul had a passion for precious souls - and so should every true Christian!  We are saved by grace in order to serve the Lord Jesus!

Two early Christian believers learned this lesson the hard way and by personal experience - Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus.

In today’s Bible reading from John’s Gospel account, we learn that Joseph of Arimathaea was indeed a disciple of Christ Jesus - but he tried to be a ‘secret Christian witness', and that was an impossible thing to do.

“And after this (Christ’s Crucifixion and death) Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the Body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him leave.  He came therefore, and took the Body of Jesus.”  (V.38)

To Joseph we can now respectfully say, ‘Well, brother Joseph, better late than never!’  He learned by personal experience the fact that, there can be no such person as a ‘secret Christian’!

However, look what happened when Joseph came out and revealed his love for Jesus.  Immediately we learn of yet another would-be secret Christian coming out in service to Christ also.  Faith in one,  inspires faith in others!

“And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night (in secret?), and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.”  (V.39)

To Nicodemus we can respectfully say, ‘Well, brother Nicodemus, better late than never!’  He also learned the lesson that there can be no such thing as a ‘secret Christian’!

“Then took they (Joseph and Nicodemus) the Body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”  (V.40)

At the dangerous time in question, these two ‘better-late-than-never’ Christian believers took their stand fearlessly for the Crucified Christ.  They discovered that their love for Jesus was more precious to them than life itself.  

By their fearless public witness, they remain a great encouragement to all true believers today; and they now sit at the feet of King Jesus, forever worshipping Him.

Thought: It’s better late than never - come out, Christian, and serve Christ today!

John, the Eye-Witness Apostle! John 19:31-37

Text:  “And he (John) that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.”

John 19:35.

Good morning, Gospel-believing Christian!  You and I fully believe the Gospel accounts written in our Bibles; the infallible Word of God Himself - due to the Scripturally enlightened fact that we have been given faith by God to do so.  We believe God’s Word because we are born of God - through trusting in the Sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus.  The Lord God has introduced us to the Eternal Truth - and the Truth has set us free from all sin.  Hallelujah!  What a gracious Lord God we love and seek to serve!

“And ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free.”     (John 8:32)

“Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way the TRUTH, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)

It is crystal clear that the Lord Jesus Christ was, is and forever shall be - God’s TRUTH incarnate.  We believe the Gospel accounts, therefore, because we personally know God’s Truth, Christ Jesus.  This is a solid fact of our faith; we are in possession of Spiritual truth from God that the world knows nothing about, for it is exercised by God-given faith in Christ.

“But the natural man/woman (unregenerate) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him/her; neither can he/she know them, because they are Spiritually discerned.”        (1 Corinthians 2:14)

False Religionists:  The Jewish leadership in today’s Bible reading knew nothing of God’s truth.  They were very religious people; but their hypocritical actions betrayed their sin-soaked hearts.  They wanted to observe every jot and tittle of their RELIGIOUSITY - but had no time nor thought for Christ Jesus.  There are still many such false religionists today.

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”  (V.31)

Strict in their observance of Jewish ritual laws of the Sabbath day, they showed no modicum of compassion for the crucified thieves, and less for the already dead and cruelly Crucified Christ.  They had religious works, but alas, they were utterly devoid of true faith from God.  They were still ‘…dead in trespasses and sins…’               (Ephesians 2:1-10)

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith (religious fervour) without works (Godly works motivated by true faith) is dead also.”  (James 2:26)

True Christians:  On the other hand, the apostle John was personally present at Calvary’s Hill on that Eternally significant Crucifixion Day.  John witnessed with his own eyes every aspect of the day’s events and faithfully wrote a record of that day’s events for all seekers of Eternal Truth that would later search and find Eternal life through the Gospel account of Christ Jesus‘ Sacrifice.  Old Testament prophecies foretold this Divine event.

“And he (John) that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done that the Scriptures (Old Testament prophecies of Christ) should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken.”  (V.35-36) 

“He keepeth all His bones; not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:20)

“And again another Scripture saith, They shall look upon Him Whom they pierced.”  (V.37)  (Zechariah 12:10)

Being personally present, an eye-witness of these vital Crucifixion events; and specifically seeing with his own eyes the evidence of Christ’s resurrection - made John an apostle with full authority from the Lord God.  Thus, we can believe his truth concerning God’s Truth - the risen Christ Jesus.  Hallelujah!  God’s Word is truth!

“Sanctify them through thy truth; Thy Word IS Truth.”  (John 17:17)

“In the beginning was the Word (Christ Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”    (John 1:1;14)

Thought:  With these Heavenly truths in mind therefore, let us go forth boldly to be witnesses for the Living Truth - Christ Jesus, the Salvation of Jehovah God, to every sinner who believes in Him.  (Romans 10:13)

Accomplished, Fulfilled, Finished! John 19:28-30

Text: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought Me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed Me; the assembly of the wicked have in-closed Me; they pierced My hands and My feet…they part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.”

Psalm 22:15-18.

          “Yet, it pleased the Lord (God the Father) to bruise Him (God the Son); He hath put Him to grief (upon the Cross); when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed (the redeemed), He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.  He (God the Father) shall see the travail of His soul (God the Son), and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant (Christ Jesus) justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.”

Isaiah 53:10-11.

Good morning, Eternally justified Christian!  God the Father loved you and I so much that He sent His only begotten and sinless Son, Christ Jesus, to suffer infinitely cruel sufferings to pay the Spiritual price necessary to redeem us from our sins.  Now, we who trust in Christ are full justified in God’s Holy sight.  Christ’s Sacrifice - fully accomplished, fulfilled, and finished - was all vital to save and secure our Hell-deserving and never-dying souls.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour we have in the risen Jesus Christ! 

“It is finished…the Battle is over…it is finished, there’ll be no more war…it is finished, the end of the conflict…it is finished, and Jesus is Lord…”  (Sung by the Gaithers

Accomplished:  The Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, had come to accomplish God the Father’s Sovereign will in the redemption of the souls He had Himself chosen (elected) to save from before the foundation of the world.

“All that the Father giveth Me (Christ Jesus) shall come to Me; and him/her that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.  For (a conclusion) I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”  (John 6:37-39)

Fulfilled:  Christ also came to us in order to fulfil every prophecy concerning Himself as the coming Messiah; manifest every Scriptural attribute noted down by the Spirit of God’s chosen writers; every ‘…jot and tittle…’ of the Law and the prophets.  This He fulfilled to the very letter.  Praise His victorious Name!

“Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For (a conclusion) verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass for the Law, till all be fulfilled.”  (Matthew 5:17-18)

Israel’s King David , speaking prophetically in Psalms 22:15-18; and 69:21 clearly depicted how Messiah Jesus would die for the sins of the world, and suffer for the sins of ’…His people…’.  Christ Jesus’ death on the Cross fulfilled every aspect of these God-given prophecies.  The prophet Zechariah clearly supports the detail of this Scriptural proof.  (Zechariah 11:10-11)

Finished:  When Christ cried from that Cross ‘It is finished’, it was not the cry of one defeated by suffering and death.  On the contrary, it was the victory cry of One Whom death could never defeat; One Who was Victor over death - because death, ‘the king of terrors’, can only have control over souls that have sinned against the Lord God Almighty.  Hallelujah! 

Jesus is, was, and always shall be completely Holy and utterly sinless!  Glory to His Name!  (Hebrews 4:15)

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; and deliver them (redeemed sinners) who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  (Hebrews 2:14-15)

“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it.”  (Isaiah 25:8)

Christ Jesus ‘…bowed His head, and gave up the ghost…’; nothing, and no one, could have ever taken life away from Him, for He is the Lord of all life.

Do you know this Jesus as your personal Saviour?  I do, and I can testify that He has accomplished, fulfilled, and finished the work of my Salvation.  Come to Him and be saved.

Thought:  In Christ, it is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned - justified by faith.

Christ’s Undying Care John 19:25-27

Text: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth (cares, and continually cares) for you.”

1 Peter 5:7.

          “Now before the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour (of Crucifixion) was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”

John 13:1.

Good morning Eternally cared for Christian!  The Lord God is an Eternal Being.  His perspectives and attributes are not three-dimensional and time-limited like our own.  Past, present and future are all the same to Almighty God and He loved us, His elect souls, from before the foundation of the world.   Wow!  Now that is an exciting thought with which to commence any new day.  Hallelujah!  We are truly loved.  (John 3:16)

“Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.”               (John 17:24)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us (those whom He chose/choses to save) with all Spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)

These wonderful Scripture verses display the infinite nature of Divine love the Lord God bestows upon all His ‘…chosen…’ souls; chosen to be part of the true Body of Christ from, ‘…before the foundation of the world…’.

God IS love, and God the Father chose to save unworthy souls like thee and me before time began, or the world was ever Created.  Now, that’s what I call Eternal love and care.  We are loved with an Eternal and a Divine love!  Hallelujah!  What a love we have in Christ Jesus!  (John 15:13)

“The Lord (Jehovah) hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”  (Jeremiah 31:3)

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God IS love.”   (1 John 4:7-8)

Furthermore, the love that God - in all triune Persons - bestows upon us, His chosen people, is a most practical love; not merely some sentimental, or emotional outpouring.  God’s love cares for our every daily need, and this is clearly evidenced in how the Lord Jesus, even as He hung upon that cruel Cross at Calvary, showed the practical nature of His care for the mother of His human nature, Mary. 

Our Lord God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - is a personally caring Lord God; Who knows our every need, and provides for us abundantly.

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat?  Or what shall we drink?  Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?…for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness (Christ Jesus); and all these things shall be added unto you.”  (Matthew 6:31-33)

God’s Word prioritizes our need because of His infinite wisdom and love for us - He knows what we need better than we know ourselves!  Therefore, the Lord encourages us to seek “…His righteousness…”, found only in Christ Jesus, knowing that all our other secondary needs will be met in Him.

Mary, the mother of the human nature of Jesus, stood emotionally devastated at the foot of His Cross.  The Lord Jesus by this time no doubt resembled a piece of bloody meat: torn, beaten, brutalised, and now nailed by his hands and his feet to that Roman Cross.  And yet, He looked down from the horror of that situation and manifested His never-dying care and love.

Jesus knew that Mary would need to be cared for by someone who was himself Eternally cared for and loved - the apostle John.  Therefore, the Lord entrusted Mary to His much-loved disciple John, ‘…And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.’ (V.27)  All Mary’s human needs were met.

Thought:  What are YOUR needs today, Christian?  Fear not, the Lord KNOWS all about them, loves you personally, and will provide for you.  Trust in Him.